Spain: The Centre of the World 1519-1682
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spain ruled a worldwide empire. Under the Habsburg dynasty, Spain went from global hegemony at the height of power and prestige (under Philip II) to dissolution and decay, and relative triviality on the world stage (by the reign of the last Habsburg, Carlos II). However, even as the empire crumbled, brilliant artists, playwrights, poets, and sculptors created the Spanish Golden Age of culture and sophistication.
Goodwin’s book accentuates the stunning personalities of this dynasty—political and artistic—who dazzle and overpower us, even today. Each person he highlights is both a shaper and a product of the time. Poets influenced princes, generals patronized architects, clergy collected paintings; and the Spanish kings were the center of the universe. This book is a brilliant interweaving of the many threads of Spanish political and cultural life, with superb artistic and contextual analysis of works such as Cervantes’ Don Quixote or Velazquez’ Las Meninas, among many others. The stories are fascinating, about figures almost mythical in their fame or infamy; the writing is compelling and engrossing, with an impelling narrative arc that is irresistible. Anyone interested in European history will love this excellent book.
|Page Count||608 pages|
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