to Goya

Prints and drawings
made in Spain

Principle investigator

Department of Prints and drawings 

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • J. Paul Getty Trust
    (Museum and Getty Research Institute)
  • Centro de Estudios Europa
    Hispánica (CEEH)

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Spanish prints and drawings is a subject that is little known outside Spain. It is generally assumed these were marginal arts practiced only by a few well-known artists, including José de Ribera, Bartolomé Murillo and Francisco de Goya.

The aim of this project is to explore the largely unchartered territory of the origins, form and function of prints and drawings in Spain. It presents for the first time a coherent study, largely based on the collections of the British Museum, that looks at their history from around 1400 through to and including Goya (died 1828). It also presents new research on the subject of the graphic arts in Spain. The material has been published in a monograph that accompanied an exhibition at the British Museum (20 September 2012 – 6 January 2013).

It is the first time prints and drawings made in Spain have been studied together. A critical aspect of the project has been to consider the presence of foreign artists working in Spain and how they contributed to the artistic landscape. Particular attention has been given to the different types of prints and drawings and their many functions to convey the role they played in artistic practice and visual culture in Spain (architectural prints and drawings, reproductive prints, landscape, religious subjects, prints made for commemorative purposes, fans, playing cards and more).

Francisco Zurbarán (1598–1664), Head of a Monk (detail). Black chalk and grey wash, c. 1635–1655.

Francisco Zurbarán (1598–1664), Head of a Monk (detail). Black chalk and grey wash, c. 1635–1655.