The most famous Spanish artists have produced some of the world’s best art. They were involved in major art movements from the Baroque to modernism, and including Art Nouveau, Cubism and Surrealism. These top artists in history, all born in Spain, were extremely creative, innovative and influential.
The Greatest Spanish Artists in History
Francisco de Zubaran (1598-1664)
Zubaran was a Baroque artist who painted in a naturalistic style. He is best known for painting religious subjects, such as Christ on the Cross which brought him his fame as an artist. He also painted historical and mythological scenes for King Philip IV of Spain, but the majority of his works featured single figures, usually of saints and monks at prayer or in mediation.
Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)
Velazquez was a painter of religious subjects and scenes from everyday life. He was born in Seville and gained his technical skills when working as an apprentice for a prominent local artist. Velazquez combined a domestic scene with a religious subject when he painted Christ in the House of Martha and Mary. He also became acclaimed as a portrait painter in the court of King Philip IV.
Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1611-1682)
Murillo was a founder of the Academy of Painting in Seville. He painted a great many portraits of ordinary women and children, but in his own lifetime he was more famous for his religious subjects. His Vision of Saint Anthony is one of the most highly acclaimed Baroque works of art, painted in his own unique style. No other Spanish artist at the time was so well known outside of his own country and for several centuries Murillo had the highest international reputation of any famous Spanish artist.
Francisco de Goya (1746-1828)
Goya was a revolutionary painter and etcher. He was one of the first artists to focus on political and social issues of contemporary life. He engraved a series of realistic etchings documenting scenes of violence and the horrors of war. He also painted dramatic scenes on a big scale showing scenes of insurrection and military executions. Goya became a court painter and created two notable paintings of The Clothed Maja and The Naked Maja.
Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926)
Gaudi was a designer architect who has to be named as one of Spain’s greatest artists. He was bron in the Catalonian region and became famous for his unique style of Art Nouveau design in architecture and city monuments. Most of his work can be seen in Barcelona.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Picasso was a painter, sculptor and ceramicist who became a tremendous influence on modern art. He was one of the founders of the cubist movement and his work was strongly inspired by African art.
Joan Miro (1893-1983)
Miro was a painter, ceramicist and sculptor whose work often featured bright colors. He created fantastical images with geometric shapes and symbols, deliberately rejecting conventional ideas of painting. His ceramics were deliberately misshapen and he was also radical in the way he created large scale sculptures.
Salvador Dali (1904-1989)
Dali was born in Catalonia and became internationally famous as a Surrealist painter, film maker and sculptor who developed his own unique style of art. Dali’s carefully painted dreamlike images feature realistic objects that are somehow distorted or incongruously placed. His films and sculptures are equally surreal.
The Influence of Famous Spanish Artists
All of these top Spanish artists, whose work includes some of the most influential art from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, had their first artistic training in their own country. Spain can therefore be seen as a country that has contributed to art history by producing a significant number of influential artists.