The Spanish Renaissance – The Golden Age of letters –

The Spanish Renaissance is one of the richest moments at an artistic, architectural and literary level. As for literature, in Spain production was so high and so important at a European level that it was known as the Golden Age of letters.

What is the Renaissance in Spain

The Renaissance arises in the fourteenth century and takes place in the sixteenth and sixteenth centuries throughout Western Europe. It is a cultural movement that speaks of the artistic proliferation in fields such as literature, architecture or art. In Spain, literature greatly stood out, receiving the name of the Golden Age of letters.

Golden Age of Letters in the Spanish Renaissance

Friar Luis de Leon

The Spanish Renaissance could not be understood without the works of Fray Luis de León, specifically his poetry, since he was one of the most important poets during the second phase of the Renaissance.

In his writings we can find that interest in moving away from the earthly and the human to reach a spirit world, to God, harmony and knowledge. Furthermore, he was a man who defended human freedom at the time of the Inquisition, both in his personal life and in the classrooms where he taught.

His way of writing might seem simple, but it is truly careful and very select in the choice of words, with a passionate style.

some of his plays they are: Exposition of the Book of Job, 1779; The perfect married, 1595; Of the names of Christo in three books, 1587.

Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes is one of the best-known writers internationally, with his work «The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote of La Mancha“, although he did not receive any money for it.

The life of this writer was full of feats. He became a slave to the barbarian pirates, was imprisoned in the Seville prison accused of keeping part of the church’s money, and participated in the Battle of Lepanto, where he lost the mobility of his left arm.

Their plays The best known are, in addition to Don Quixote, “La Galatea”, “Rinconete y Cortadillo”, “Viaje del Parnaso”, “La gitanilla”, among others.

Lope de Vega

Lope de Vega had a somewhat controversial life in the times in which he lived. He was an inquisitor, a priest, a poet, a playwright and even a father. Furthermore, he is considered one of the most prolific writers of his time.

He had a great fight with Miguel de Cervantes, who renamed him with the name of «freak of nature«, although it was also known as «Fénix de los Ingenios».

His plays are still performed today, he also wrote novels, narrative works both in verse and prose and are attributed to him. up to 3,000 sonnets.

some of his plays The most representative are “Fuenteovejuna”, “The dog in the manger” and “The punishment without revenge”.

Painting in the Spanish Renaissance


Did you know that his full name is Diego Rodríguez de Silva and Velazquez? He adopted his mother’s last name.

He lived in Seville, his hometown, until he was 24 years old. Later, he moved to Madrid together with his family and worked in the service of the king. He is considered one of the most important painters, both nationally and internationally.

Many of his works can be seen in the Prado Museum Madrid, others are in foreign collections.

One of his most notable works is Las Meninas. There are many aspects to study within this work, such as the fact that the painter portrayed himself, the treatment of light, among many other remarkable details.


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo also he adopted his mother’s surname to sign their works, as Andalusian tradition dictates.

In his works, the numerous production of religious theme, within which the figure of the Immaculate Conception stands out. He also highlights his fame for painting children and portraits.

Some plays to highlight are: «Sagrada Familia del Pajarito», «Josua van Belle», «The Virgin with Fray Lauterio, Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Thomas Aquinas», Self-Portrait, «Old Woman Spinning», among others.


José de Ribera stands out in three aspects: painter, draughtsman and engraver. He carried out his entire career in the cities of Rome and Naples, where he was known as Jusepe Ribera or Lo Spagnoletto (The Little Spaniard).

Some plays Outstanding are: The Bearded Woman, Judgment of Solomon, Silenus Drunk, San Andrés, Martyrdom of San Andrés, Los Sentidos series, Archimedes, among others.


Born in Badajoz, he trained artistically in Seville and was friend of Velazquez. It will be in Seville where he carries out some of his most outstanding works with religious motifs, destined for convents.

In turn, he was also cataloged as the monastic painter, where his works for the Jerez Charterhouse and the Guadalupe monastery stand out.

some of his plays The most important are: “San Hugo in the refectory of the Carthusians”, “Christ on the Immaculate Cross”, “Agnus Dei”, “Still life with pots”, among others.

El Greco

Domenikos Theotokopoulos was a Greek-born painter, hence its name “El Greco”. He settled in Toledo in the year 1577.

He was considered a master of icons in the post-Byzantine style and his work is made up of large canvases of altarpieces for different religious institutions.

Its main characteristic are the mannerist figures, their lighting technique and their expression.