A retrato of Carlos III, of Felipe VI
If we take for example portraits of the different Spanish kings, we will see a real difference in the way of presenting the figure of the king. With Carlos III: a lot of wealth, symbols of royalty to establish the power of the king.
On the other hand, if we compare this type of image with a portrait of Felipe VI, the current king of Spain, we will see that the portrait of the current king is much simpler, in a more refined setting. This can be explained by the evolution of the monarchical regime in Spain. The representation of power is linked to the evolution of society.
Questioning the monarchy
Today, many Spaniards question the monarchy, because they think that it is not very useful and that it is expensive. All the marks of wealth that could be seen in paintings from other eras have now disappeared.
El muralista – Diego Rivera
The principle of muralism was to paint on large facades of public buildings to give less privileged people access to a certain culture. These frescoes often tell the story of the country, in the case of Diego Rivera, of Mexico, and denounce social, economic or political problems.
For example, Rivera denounces the Spanish conquest in a large fresco in the National Palace of Mexico. He also denounces slavery in a fresco entitled Plantación de azúcar en Morelos. Finally, he denounces capitalist society in a fresco called El hombre controlador del universo.
Las Meninas (Las Meninas) by Diego de Velázquez (1599 - 1660), is a Spanish painter considered one of the main representatives of Spanish painting. We should also mention La Rendición de Breda (The Surrender of Breda), also called Las Lanzas (The Spears), or Las Hilanderas (The Spinners).
El dos de mayo de 1808 en Madrid (The second of May 1808 in Madrid), better known as Dos de mayo (Two of May), painted by Francisco de Goya (1746 - 1828) is a famous Spanish work which represents the Spaniards repelling a violent attack by Napoleon's French Army on the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid. This work goes hand in hand with Tres de Mayo (Three Mays), which depicts the execution of Spanish insurgents by French soldiers.
El Greco (1541 - 1614) was a Spanish painter considered a central and innovative figure in the world of Spanish painting. El caballero de la mano en el pecho (The knight with his hand on his chest), El integerro del Conde de Orgaz (The burial of Count Orgaz), La Virgen con el Niño, Santa Martina y Santa Ines (The Virgin with the 'Child, Saint Martin and Saint Ines), Vista y plano de Toledo (View and plan of Toledo) and La Trinidad (The Trinity) are some of his most famous Spanish works.
Dos niños comiendo melón y uvas (Two children eating melon and grapes), Niñas contando dinero (Little girls counting money) or Virgen con el Niño (Virgin and Child) are Well-known Spanish works by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 - 1682).
The works of Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973) are one of the most important Spanish works in the world of modern Spanish painting, including Autorretrato (Self-portrait), Las señoritas de Avignon (Les demoiselles d'Avignon), Violín y guitarra (Violin and guitar), Pablo vestido de arlequín (Pablo dressed as a harlequin) or Matador . But his most famous work remains Guernica , where the author denounces the bombardment of the city of Guernica, in the Basque Country, by German troops, in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. A symbol of Francoist violence and of war in general, this painting is known throughout the world.
The surrealist works of the painter Salvador Dalí also marked modern Spanish painting. His best-known works are Autorretrato cubista (Cubist self-portrait), Muchacha en la ventana (Girl at the window), El gran masturbador (The great masturbator), La persistencia de la memoria (The persistence of memory) and El hombre invisible (The invisible man).
Carnaval del arlequín (Carnival of the harlequin), Interior holandés (Dutch interior), Azul 3 (Blue 3), or Personaje delante del sol (Character in front of the sun) are well-known, modern works by Joan Miró (1893 - 1983). We will also mention some of his sculptures, such as Pájaro lunar (Bird and moon) or Mujer y pájaro (Woman and bird).
Muralism (muralismo) is an artistic movement born in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. It consists of making murals, often of a political nature, on the walls of the city, in particular on the walls of public buildings, such as the National Palace (Palacio Nacional) of Mexico, which includes the frescoes (los murales ) more iconic.
This movement was notably led by the Mexican Diego Rivera (1886 - 1957), whose best-known murals are in the National Palace, such as El mercado de Tlatelolco (The market of Tlatelolco), Toma de Cuernavaca (Capture of Cuernavaca) or El mundo de hoy y mañana (The world of yesterday and today). His works retrace the history of Mexico, from pre-Columbian civilizations to the Spanish Conquest, passing through the Mexican Revolution of 1910. The objective is to praise the prowess of the Mexican people and to denounce the cruelties they may have suffered.
José Clemente Orozco (1883 - 1949) is another Mexican muralist (muralista) , notably with his work Hidalgo , as well as David Alfaro Siqueiros (1898- 1974), with Autorretrato (Self-portrait) or Marcha de la humanidad en América Latina hacia el cosmos (March of humanity in Latin America towards the cosmos).