Edited by Zahira Véliz
Translated by David McGrath and Zahira Véliz
Jusepe Martínez’s Practical Discourses on the Most Noble Art of Painting (ca. 1673–75), though little known today, was highly influential on art, artists, and artistic practice and theory in Spain long after its publication. This volume is the first English translation of the Discourses, which, while circulated in manuscript copies, was not even published until the mid-nineteenth century.
Martínez wrote the Discourses toward the end of his life as a well-traveled professional artist who had studied and worked in Italy and the major artistic and literary centers of Spain; his ideas were especially enriched by his participation in the elevated cultural life of his native Aragonese school. His discussions on art offer anecdotal knowledge from his friendships with many of the principal artists of Spain’s Golden Age, including Diego Velázquez and Alonso Cano, as well as writers and intellectuals of the period.
Martínez’s text stands out for a nuanced humanism that is rare in practical treatises. Along with his original ideas on handling, pictorial aesthetics, and the vocation of painting, his work has even more affinities with philosophical discourses than with artists’ practical instructional books. Zahira Véliz’s introduction and notes provide historical context and situate Martínez’s ideas in his rich cultural milieu.
Zahira Véliz is senior conservator of paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. David McGrath is a visiting research fellow in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies at King’s College, London.
7 x 10 inches
13 b/w illustrations
Imprint: Getty Research Institute
Series: Texts & Documents