Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth Centuries
Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth
Centuries is the second publication in a series of systematic
catalogues of the National Gallery of Art's
holdings in paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts.
The more than two dozen volumes of The Collections
of the National Gallery of Art will fulfill our responsibility
to provide a complete description and interpretation
of our extraordinary collections to both the
inquiring general visitor and to the specialized scholar
in art history. The books in the series are written by
Gallery curators and leading outside authorities, thus
taking into account the issues and methodologies
unique to each field.
We are fortunate that this important project has
been informed by the knowledge and expertise of
two leading authorities on Spanish painting, Jonathan
Brown and Richard Mann. Professor Brown's
books on Velazquez, Murillo, and Zurbarán, on other
Spanish artists, and on the history of Spanish patronage
are among the most respected in the field. Professor
Mann has contributed his specialized knowledge
of El Greco and Goya and their patrons.
The Spanish paintings in the National Gallery,
though restricted in number, are an important part of
the old master collection. Here it is possible to see
early and late examples of El Greco's painting, Velazquez'
work on an intimate scale, Murillo addressing
both the sacred and the profane, and Goya's incisive
portraits of Spain's aristocratic and intellectual society.
Only those Spanish paintings in the Kress collection
have been catalogued extensively before, by
Colin Eisler in 1977. Since that date, heightened interest
in Spanish art among the public and among
scholars has spurred monographic exhibitions and
innovative research on the artists represented in the
National Gallery's collection. Careful examination in
the conservation laboratories, using new diagnostic
methods, has extended our understanding of painters'
working methods and brought new focus to
questions of workshop practice and the distinctions
among modelli, finished works, and replicas. By setting
forth comprehensively the results of scholarly
discoveries about the Gallery's holdings, we hope to
further a more general understanding of the development
of Spanish painting and the context in which it