Castile 1550-1600: importing graphic practices

In 1561 Philip II established Madrid as his capital. Two years later he laid the foundation stone for the Escorial, which was conceived as a monastery, the burial place of the Hapsburg dynasty, a library and the repository for Philip’s vast collections of art, relics and natural wonders. Completed in 1584, it required an enormous workforce including engineers, architects and artists from across Europe.

The time Philip had spent outside Spain during his youth, where he had seen the work of some of the best Flemish and Italian artists, shaped his taste for art. Renowned Italian painters such as Federico Zuccaro, Pellegrino Tibaldi and Luca Cambiaso were chosen for their ability as fresco painters and they executed most of the decoration of the Escorial. Their drawing styles and techniques and how they used drawings to prepare their compositions had a lasting impact on the Spanish artists working alongside them, as well as on future generations.