• The Holy Family with Mary Magdalen, c. 1590-1595. El Greco. Oil on canvas; 51-1/8 x 39-5/16 in. Friends of the Cleveland Museum of Art in memory of J. H. Wade 1926.247
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Spanish Art

Grade Level: 
9–12
Student Level: 
High School

Optional Spanish language presentation available on request for an additional fee.

This lesson features paintings by artists working from or born in Spain. Renaissance, Baroque, and modern Spanish art offer a varied stylistic range to students, who also learn about the cultural and historical context of the works highlighted. Many of the artists-El Greco, Goya, and Picasso, for example-are among the best known in Western art history and may already be familiar to students. Portions of this lesson can be presented in beginning, intermediate, or advanced Spanish, making it suitable for all levels of foreign language studies.

Program Format: 
  • Introduction to Spanish art in the 17th century, including the work of El Greco and Diego Velázquez.
  • Discussion of Goya and how his work portrayed the effects of historical events (such as the Inquisition and the French invasion of Spain) in the 18th to 19th centuries.
  • Transition to the 20th century and discussion of Pablo Picasso's work—including the Blue Period and Cubism.
  • Conclude with the work Salvador Dalí and introduction to Surrealism.
Objectives: 
  • Students will be introduced to a selection of Spanish artists, as well as the cultural and historical context of their lives.
  • Students will learn about stylistic changes from the earliest artist presented to the most recent artist in the lesson.
  • Students will gain familiarity with the Spanish language (if Spanish presentation is requested).