The Cultural Influences of the Spanish Masters
From El Greco & Goya to Sorolla & Picasso
12 nights in Madrid, Spain
This 12-night journey is based in Madrid, Spain, and focuses on four of the great Spanish masters—El Greco, Goya, Sorolla, and Picasso. Participants learn how artists such as El Greco and Goya absorbed the cultural influences of their time, and in turn had an impact on Picasso’s Cubist vision and Sorolla’s brilliance. Participants are also shown how iconic American painter Thomas Eakins experienced a life-changing artistic transformation after studying the Spanish masters exhibited in the renowned Prado Museum. A discussion of contemporary surrealists such as Dali demonstrates just why the art of the Spanish masters is timeless and ever ripe for reinterpretation.
El Greco (Circa 1541 – April 7, 1614 ). El Greco was born Domenikos Theotokopoulos, around 1541 in Crete, which was then part of the Republic of Venice. In his mid-twenties, he traveled to Venice and studied under Titian, who was the most renowned painter of his day. Around age 35, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life, producing his best-known paintings. His works from this period are seen as precursors of both Expressionism and Cubism. He is remembered chiefly for his elongated, tortured figures, often religious in nature, the style of which baffled his contemporaries but helped establish his reputation in the years to come.
Francisco de Goya (March 30, 1746 – April 16, 1828). A famed painter in his own lifetime, Francisco de Goya was born on March 30, 1746, in Fuendetodos, Spain. He began his art studies as a teenager and even spent time in Rome, Italy, to advance his skills. In 1770s, Goya began to work for Spanish royal court. In addition to his commissioned portraits of the nobility, he created works that criticized the social and political problems of his era.
Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (February 27, 1863 – August 10, 1923) was a Spanish painter who was born in Valencia. He excelled in the painting of portraits, landscapes, and monumental works of social and historical themes. His most typical works are characterized by a dexterous representation of the people and landscape under the sunlight of his native land. Sorolla’s widow left a large collection of his paintings to the people of Spain. The collection is now a museum, the Museo Sorolla, in the artist’s house in Madrid which we visit.
Pablo Picasso (October 25, 1881 – April 8, 1973). Born in Málaga, Spain, in 1881, Pablo Picasso, became one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century and the creator (with Georges Braque) of Cubism. A Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer, Picasso was considered radical in his work. After a long prolific career, he died on April 8, 1973, in Mougins, France. The enormous body of Picasso’s work remains, however, and the legend lives on—a tribute to the vitality of the “disquieting” Spaniard with the “sombrepiercing” eyes who superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive. For nearly 80 of his 91 years, Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to—and paralleled the entire development of—modern art in the 20th century.