Spain’s Golden Age may be defined as the extraordinary moment when the visual arts, architecture, literature, and music all reached unprecedented heights.
Featuring a diverse selection of more than 100 outstanding works produced by leading artists from Spain and its global territories, Art and Empire: The Golden Age of Spain is the first exhibition in the United States to expand the notion of “Golden Age” to include the Hispanic world beyond the shores of the Iberian Peninsula. Such far-flung Spanish-controlled centers as Antwerp, Naples, Mexico, Lima, and the Philippines are represented by paintings, sculpture and decorative arts of astounding quality and variety from the pivotal years of about 1660 to 1750.
Artists featured in the exhibition include Diego Velázquez, Peter Paul Rubens, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Francisco de Zurbarán, Jusepe de Ribera, El Greco, Juan de Valdés Leal, Juan Sánchez Cotán, and many more. This exhibition also marks the first time in the Museum’s history that all five of the Spanish masters represented on the Museum’s building façade—Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán, Ribera and El Greco—will be shown together at the Museum.
Art & Empire: The Golden Age of Spain brings to life the extraordinary moment when Spain’s visual arts, architecture, literature, and music all reached unprecedented heights. More than 100 works of art are organized into five sections including The Courtly Image: Portraiture in the Hispanic World; The Birth of Naturalism; Art in the Service of Faith; Splendors of Daily Life; and Global Materials and Trade, and represent more than 10 countries, including Belgium, Italy, Mexico, Peru and the Philippines.
There will also be a wide variety of public programming to complement the show, including a symposium featuring notable scholars from around the world, a lecture by Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery, London, as well as a film series, textile and cochineal dye workshops, performances by the San Diego Ballet, a Spanish jazz band, traditional Flamenco performances, community and outreach programs, and much more.
Featured: Sebastián López de Arteaga (Mexico, born Spain, 1610–1652), Apparition of Saint Michael on Mount Gargano, ca. 1650. Oil on canvas, 75 x 61 in. (190.5 x 154.9 cm) Denver Art Museum, Gift of Frank Barrows Freyer Collection by exchange and Gift of Frederick & Jan Mayer, 1994.27
Support for the exhibition is provided by Presenting Sponsors, Taffin Ann and Gene Ray and Lead Sponsor, Debbie Turner. Additional support is provided by Anonymous, Toni Bloomberg, Canterbury Consulting, Tatiana and Robert Dotson, Aaron Feldman, Tom and Carolina Gildred, Lisa and Charles Hellerich, HomeFed Corporation, Eileen and Bob Hunt, Barbara Katz, Janice Lowenberg, A. Fenner Milton, Mr. and Mrs. Paul F. Mosher, Demi and Frank Rogozienski, Kevin Rowe and Irene Vlitos Rowe, Sheryl and Harvey White, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Allison and Robert Price Family Foundation, the Spain-USA Foundation, the Georges and Germaine Fusenot Charity Foundation, and the Members of The San Diego Museum of Art. Institutional support for the Museum is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.