Madrid 1600-1700: artistic capital

The main developments in prints and drawings in and around Madrid during the late 1500s and early 1600s are related to changes in techniques and practices in an environment receptive to innovation.

The masters who best reflect this transformation are the Italians who came to Spain as children, such as Vicente Carducho, or who belonged to the first generation born there, like Eugenio Cajés. They inherited the belief that drawing was key to creative processes. From around 1650 we may speak of the existence of a style of painting distinctive to Madrid. Artists, such as Francisco Rizi, Francisco Camilo and Francisco de Herrera the Younger, used highly varied drawing techniques, with mixed media and larger sheets of better-quality paper. Drawings were put to many uses, such as planning theatre design, triumphal entries and architectural projects.

Many artists were involved in printmaking, but this was generally a minor part of their activity. Local printmaking was restricted mainly to book illustration, and the demand for reproductive engravings was met from elsewhere in Europe.