Francisco de Zurbarán (Spain, 1598–1664), Saint Francis in prayer in a grotto1650-1655. Oil on canvas, 62 x 39 9/16 in. (157.5 x 100.5 cm), Gift of Conrad Prebys and Debbie Turner, 2014.132, San Diego Museum of Art.

SAN DIEGO, CA.- The San Diego Museum of Art presents the exhibition Art & Empire: The Golden Age of Spain, featuring more than 100 outstanding works by leading artists from Spain and its global territories during the pivotal years of around 1600 to 1750. On view May 18, 2019 through Sept. 2, 2019, the exhibition showcases a wide variety of exquisite paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts produced throughout the Spanish-speaking world. This exhibition is the first in the U.S. to examine the notion of “Golden Age” beyond the shores of the Iberian Peninsula by bringing together works from Spain’s European, American, and Asian realms. 

“Art & Empire: The Golden Age of Spain showcases the broad scope of the Spanish empire and helps bring context to some of the international treasures within the Museum’s permanent collection,” said Roxana Velásquez, Maruja Baldwin Executive Director of The San Diego Museum of Art. “Our renowned collection of Spanish art is on view alongside important works from private collections and major institutions around the world. This is an opportunity for San Diego and its visitors to see works by the most influential Spanish artists, including Diego Velázquez, whose work has transcended time and continues to inspire new generations of artists.” 

Artists featured in the exhibition include Diego Velázquez, Peter Paul Rubens, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Francisco de Zurbarán, Jusepe de Ribera, El Greco, Juan de Valdés Leal, Juan Sánchez Cotán, and many more. This exhibition also marks the first time since 1935 that all five of the Spanish masters represented on the Museum’s building façade—Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán, Ribera and El Greco—will be shown together at the Museum. 

Art & Empire: The Golden Age of Spain brings to life the extraordinary moment when Spain’s visual arts, architecture, literature, and music all reached unprecedented heights. More than 100 works of art are organized into four sections including The Courtly Image: Portraiture in the Hispanic World; The Birth of Naturalism; Art in the Service of Faith; Splendors of Daily Life and Global Materials, and represent more than 10 countries, including Belgium, Italy, Mexico, Peru and the Philippines. 

In addition to organizing the exhibition, Dr. Michael Brown, the Museum’s Curator of European Art, is editor and contributing author of the accompanying, fully illustrated publication, which features essays by renowned art historians including Jonathan Brown, the preeminent authority on Spanish art, as well as Benito Navarrete Prieto, Sofía Sanabrais, and Jorge Rivas Pérez. There will also be a wide variety of public programming to complement the show, including a symposium featuring notable scholars from around the world, a lecture by Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery, London, as well as a film series, textile and cochineal dye workshops, performances by the San Diego Ballet, a Spanish jazz band, traditional Flamenco performances, community and outreach programs, and much more.


Francisco de Zurbarán (Spain, 1598–1664), Saint Francis in Meditation, 1635–39. Oil on canvas, 59 7/8 x 39 in. (152 x 99 cm) National Gallery, London, Bought, 1853, NG230.


Francisco de Zubarán, Virgin and Child with Saint John, 1658. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R., Amy and Irene Putnam. 1935.22.


Francisco de Zubarán, Agnus Dei. Oil On Canvas, 14 x 20 1/2 in, San Diego Museum of Art.


Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus, 1619–20. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Ireland, Presented, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987 (Beit Collection).


Sofonisba Anguissola, Portrait of a Spanish Prince (probably Philip II), ca. 1573. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam. 1936.51.


 Juan Sánchez Cotán, Still life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, ca. 1602. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam. 1945.43, San Diego Museum of Art


Peter Paul Rubens, Allegory of Eternity. Oil On Panel, 26 x 13 1/2 in. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, San Diego Museum of Art


El Greco, The Penitent Saint Peter. Oil On Canvas, 47 3/8 x 42 3/8 in., San Diego Museum of Art


El Greco, Adoration of  the Shepherds, c. 1576–77. Oil On Copper, 9 1/2 x 7 3/4 in., San Diego Museum Of Art, Museum purchase, 1990.104.


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Penitent Magdalene, c. 1660-65. Oil On Canvas, 63 1/4 x 41 1/2 in., San Diego Museum of Art.


Carta ejecutoria of Eujenio Alfonso de Rioja, 1602. Tempera and ink on vellum. Gift of Dr. B. L. Riese (through the American Legion). 1925.116


17th century Painting, Plaza Mayor of Madrid. Spain (Madrid), ca. 1665. Oil on canvas, 53 1/4 x 78 3/4 in. (135 x 200 cm), Pérez Simón Collection.


Marcellus Clodius, Philip II of Spain, 1588. Engraving, 20 3/8 x 15 in., San Diego Museum Of Art, 1955.27.


Jusepe de Ribera, St Jerome Hearing the Trumpet of the Last Judgment, 1621. Etching And Engraving, 12 3/8 x 9 1/4 in., San Diego Museum Of Art, 1931.49.


Alonso Cano, Christ the Redeemer, 1645-50. Oil On Panel, 37 1/2 x 17 3/8 in., San Diego Museum Of Art, 1957.53.


Diego De Borgraf, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 1656. Oil On Canvas, 65.75 x 45.75 in., Denver Art Museum. Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2011.426.


Sebastian Lopez De Arteaga, Saint Michael and the Bull, c. 1650. Oil On Canvas, 75 x 61 in., Denver Art Museum. Gift of Frank Barrows Freyer Collection by exchange and Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 1994.27.


Gregorio Vasquez De Arce y Ceballos, Vision of Thomas Aquinas, c. 1695. Oil On Wood Panel, 20 3/4 x 14 1/2 in., Denver Art Museum. Gift of the Stapleton Foundation of Latin American Colonial Art, made possible by the Renchard Family, 1990.361.


Pedro De Mena, San Diego De Alcala, 1665-70. Polychromed Wood, 24 7/32 x 9 7/16 x 10 5/8 in., San Diego Museum Of Art, 2012.77.