The time period for the Spanish Baroque begins roughly in the 1580s and ends in the early 1700s. The art from this region is characterized by visual realism which was consistent with the rest of Europe. Spanish painters also frequently used dark colors and incorporated tenebrism, or strong light sources against primarily black backgrounds. Perhaps the more sombre style that evolved in Spain at this time was a result of Spain's war defeats at the hands of the Netherlands and England, which greatly affected their finances.
Spanish Baroque painters were often sponsored by the Catholic Church. They were also heavily supported by the devout Hapsburg emperors who responded well to the severe and noble style of Catholic Counter-Reformation art, which brought religious themes to the masses. It was also the Spanish school in combination with the Dutch Baroque artist who importantly guided European painting toward more naturalism in painting. Spanish masters such as Diego Velasquez, Franciso de Zurbaran, and Juan Sanchez Cotan, and others will be highlighted in this docent-led talk.