Spain and New Spain 729
brought and the value of visual imagery in communicating e!ec- tively with a wide audience. “us both kings continued to spend lavishly on art.
Juan Sánchez Cotán. One painter who made a major con- tribution to the development of Spanish art, although he did not receive any royal commissions, was J#$% S&%'()* C+,&% (1560– 1627). Born in Orgaz, outside Toledo, Sánchez Cotán moved to Granada and became a Carthusian monk in 1603. Although he painted religious subjects, his greatest works are the still lifes (paint- ings of artfully arranged inanimate objects) that he produced before entering monastic life (and never therea-er). Few in number, they nonetheless established still-life painting as an important genre in 17th-century Spain.
Still Life with Game Fowl (./0. 24-25) is one of Sánchez Cotán’s most ambitious compositions, but it conforms to the pattern he adopted for all of his still lifes. A niche or a window—the artist clearly wished the setting to be indeterminate—1lls the entire sur- face of the canvas. At the bottom, fruits and vegetables, including a melon—cut open with a slice removed—rest on a ledge. Above, suspended on strings from a nail or hook outside the frame, are a quince and four game fowl. All are meticulously rendered and brightly illuminated, enhancing the viewer’s sense of each texture, color, and shape, yet the background is impenetrable shadow. “e sharp and unnatural contrast between light and dark imbues the still life with a sense of mystery that is absent, for example, in Dutch still-life paintings (./02. 25-1, 25-22, and 25-23).
“ere may, in fact, be a religious reference. Sánchez Cotán once described his 11 paintings of fruits, vegetables, and birds as “o!erings to the Virgin”—probably a reference to the Virgin as the fenestra coeli (“window to Heaven”) and the source of spiritual food for the faithful.
Fra Andrea Pozzo. Another master of ceiling decoration was F3$ A%43)$ P+**+ (1642–1709), a lay brother of the Jesuit order and a master of perspective, on which he wrote an in5uential trea- tise. Pozzo designed and executed the vast ceiling fresco Glori!ca- tion of Saint Ignatius (./0. 24-24) for the church of Sant’Ignazio in Rome (see “How to Make a Ceiling Disappear,” page 728). Like Il Gesù, Sant’Ignazio was a prominent Counter-Reformation church because of its dedication to the founder of the Jesuit order. “e Jesuits played a major role in Catholic education and sent legions of missionaries to the New World and Asia.
SPAIN AND NEW SPAIN During the 16th century, Spain had established itself as an interna- tional power. “e Habsburg kings had built a dynastic state encom- passing Portugal, part of Italy, the Netherlands, and extensive areas of the New World. By the beginning of the 17th century, however, the Habsburg Empire was in decline, and although Spain mounted an aggressive e!ort during the “irty Years’ War, by 1660 the impe- rial age of the Spanish Habsburgs was over. In part, the demise of the Habsburg Empire was due to economic woes. “e military cam- paigns that Philip III (r. 1598–1621) and his son Philip IV (r. 1621– 1665) waged during the “irty Years’ War were costly and led to the imposition of higher taxes. “e increasing tax burden placed on Spanish subjects in turn incited revolts and civil war in Catalonia and Portugal in the 1640s, further straining an already fragile economy.
Painting and Sculpture Although the dawn of the Baroque period found the Spanish kings struggling to maintain control of their dwindling empire, both Philip III and Philip IV understood the prestige that great artworks
24-25 J!”# S$#%&'( C)*$#, Still Life with Game Fowl, ca. 1600–1603. Oil on canvas, 29 2 340 + 29 10
7 80. Art Institute
of Chicago, Chicago (gi, of Mr. and Mrs. Leigh B. Block).
Sánchez Cotán established still life as an important genre in Spain. His compositions feature brightly illumi- nated fruits, vegetables, and birds, hanging or on a ledge, against a dark background.
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