10 Reasons Why Studying Art History in Spain Offers a Rich and Captivating Experience by Karla Darocas, Arts Historian

I have been researching, writing and teaching about Spanish art for over 30 years.  I have found that studying art history in Spain offers a unique opportunity to explore a vibrant artistic landscape that spans centuries, cultures and movements. It is an enriching journey that broadens artistic horizons, and deepens understanding and appreciation of the fascinating world of art.

Here are 10 reasons why I love Spain and its artistic heritage!

Sculptures by the Andalusian Baroque Master Pedro de Mena in Gandía

One of my favourite treasure chests is the Santa Clara Museum in Gandia. Its roots go back to 1431, when Violante de Aragón, daughter of Alfonso de Aragón - senor, Duke of Gandia, founded the convent of Santa Clara in this town.

Since its foundation, many famous women have sought the spiritual refuge of the convent, either because of a sincere vocation or because they were forced to do so by their families who were unable to provide a suitable marriage.

* Report by art historian and educator , Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. (KarlaDarocas.com)

MAJA WITH A SMALL DOG, 1865, Eugenio Lucas Velázquez

One of the most impressive paintings that will catch your eye when you visit the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Málaga is this completely relaxed "Maja with a Small Dog". It was painted in 1865 by the madrileño, Eugenio Lucas Velázquez, one of the most popular artists of the Spanish Romantic period, considered the best successor to Goya.

Undoubtedly, Eugenio Lucas is paying homage to Goya's masterful work, the Maja, of which there are two versions, one clothed and one nude. Eugenio preferred the clothed Maja to the nude Maja, which allowed him to tell a much fuller story.

* Report by art historian and educator , Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. (KarlaDarocas.com)


Andalusian Romanticism refers to a cultural movement that emerged in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia in the 19th century. It was characterised by a renewed interest in local traditions and a romanticised view of Andalusian culture, including its music, art, literature and architecture.

Seville, a city in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, played an important role in the development of Romanticism in Spain during the 19th century. Among the most important painters of this movement from Seville are:

Manuel Barrón y Carrillo - Born in Seville in 1814, Barrón y Carrillo was a painter who specialised in landscapes and genre scenes. His work was characterised by a very detailed style and focused on the colours and textures of the Andalusian landscape.

Joaquín Domínguez Bécquer - Born in Seville in 1822, Bécquer was a painter and illustrator who was also the brother of the famous Romantic poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. His work was characterised by a very detailed style and focused on the emotions and expressions of his subjects.

José Jiménez Aranda - Born in Seville in 1837, Aranda was a prolific painter who specialised in historical and genre scenes. His work was characterised by a concentration on everyday life and a romanticising view of Andalusian culture and traditions.

Overall, these painters played an important role in the development of Romanticism in 19th century Spain, and their works are still celebrated and admired today.

Andalusian Romanticism also had an important influence on Spanish music, particularly the flamenco tradition. During this period, flamenco music began to evolve from a local Andalusian style into a national symbol of Spanish identity and became increasingly popular with artists and intellectuals throughout the country, but that's another story!

Overall, Andalusian Romanticism represented a celebration of Andalusian culture and traditions, as well as a reaction to the industrialisation and modernisation that swept Spain in the 19th century. It played an important role in the development of Spanish art, literature and music, and continues to inspire and influence artists today.

Resource Books CLICK  HERE *

PORT OF MÁLAGA by Manuel Barrón y Carrillo

The next time you visit to Málaga, I recommend a go to the Carmen Thyssen Museum. Here you will find a wonderful collection of paintings belonging to the genre of Andalusian Romanticism.

These paintings are among my favourites for their scenic qualities, composition, painterly style and historical implications.


Resource Books CLICK  HERE *

VIDEO - End of the Day, Joaquin Sorolla, 1900

The End of the Day
is a unique painting by Joaquin Sorolla that is never talked about. It is an easel-sized oil painting on linen, 88 by 128 centimetres, approximately 34 by 50 inches.

It was painted during his visit to a charming enclave called Javea (or Xabia in Valencian) in the province of Alicante. It was also Joaquín Sorolla's third stay in Javea , between the fifth of August and the eighteenth of October in the year 1900.


Resource Books written by
Karla Ingleton Darocas 
and published by



PASSION AND PRIDE AT THE PRADO: Spain's Seven Most Famous Historical Romantic Stories & the Artists Who Immortalised Them


Discover and appreciate the story behind paintings such as Queen Isabel the Catholic Dictating her Will, or the sad misadventure of Doña Juana La Loca (Queen Juana the Mad), who ends her days as Queen Juana la Loca, Secluded in Tordesillas with her Daughter, Infanta Doña Catalina.

And then there is also the cruel story behind Prince Don Carlos of Viana, and then the catastrophic saga behind the Conversion of the Duke of Gandia.

You will not want to miss the dramatic tale of The Lovers of Teruel, nor miss the heroic yet fatal story behind the Execution of Torrijos and his Companions on the Beach at Málaga.



CLOTILDE is a heart-warming story - about a woman who was driven by her unwavering love and devotion to her husband, the now legendary 19th and early 20th century master of light, the Valencian artist, Joaquín Sorolla.