Philip III (1578-1621), so often dismissed in favor of Philip II and Philip IV, actually presided over an era of crucial artistic development in Spain. His reign was a time of cultural and political vitality for the Spanish monarchy, as the king and his court, having successfully maintained a peaceful foreign policy in Europe (the "Pax Hispanica"), ushered in a style of grandeur where fabulous gala celebrations, building campaigns, picture collecting, recreation and travel were the order of the day. Accordingly, the art of this period flourished, witnessing the birth of a naturalistic style that was variously reflected in a new attention to detail and spatiality in court portraiture, the thriving of still life, the humanizing of saints and the development of polychrome sculpture. Focusing on the careers of the mature El Greco and the young Velázquez, which bookend this exciting period of resurgent court culture, this volume also investigates the works of lesser-known but highly talented artists who exerted a critical influence on the development of Spanish painting. Essays by several noted scholars provide indispensable perspectives on the historical, literary, cultural and religious context in which these artists lived. The product of 20 years of research and illustrated with a sumptuousness befitting its subject, El Greco to Velázquez is sure to become a standard reference for enthusiasts of Spanish art.