The exhibition Spanish Masters from the Hermitage featured a range of Spanish art from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It included more than sixty masterpieces and a rich collection of graphic works and applied arts masterpieces. Never before had the Netherlands hosted such a comprehensive survey of Spanish art with work that is rarely represented in Dutch museum collections. On display were masterpieces such as The Apostles Peter and Paul (1587–92) by El Greco, Velázquez’s Portrait of the Count Duke of Olivares (ca 1638), Murillo’s Immaculate Conception (ca 1680) and Goya’s Portrait of the Actress Antonia Zárate (1810–11), and paintings by their pupils and later painters right through to Picasso. Together they tell the story of the rise and glory of Spanish art in the Golden Age, which would continue to influence art into modern times.
In the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Spanish Golden Age, painters such as El Greco, Ribera and Zurbarán developed a distinctive Spanish style, with exceptionally intense contrasts between light and dark. Their work, often commissioned by the Crown or the Church, exudes the pride and the temperament of the Iberian Peninsula. Murillo and, above all, Velázquez added their own personal artistic signatures. Later, Goya swept onto the scene with his impressive talent and confrontational realism.
Spanish Masters at the Hermitage was on display from 28 November 2015 to 29 May 2016.