Focusing on the interaction between art and the socio-economic and political conditions that prevailed in Spain's golden age, this book offers information about religious beliefs, social attitudes the activities of patrons and collectors, and how these were absorbed and interpreted by painters. The author sets the history of Spanish painting within a European context and explores Spain's contact with artistic centres in Italy and the Netherlands. He discusses not only Spanish artists but also such non-Spanish painters as Titian, Rubens, and Luca Giordano, who either worked in Spain or influenced other artists there. Brown also examines the collections of foreign paintings that Spanish noblemen and prelates assembled and how these collections affected the production of art and the social status of the Spanish artist. In this up-to-date and innovative analysis of two hundred years of Spanish painting, Brown describes a country that brilliantly transformed the artistic impulses it received from abroad to fit the needs of its own society.