AFTER THE DEATH of Van Eyck, his pupil, Petrus Cristus, (1410?-1473?) returned to Portugal, his native country, where he achieved great success. He founded a flourishing school, which in a short time spread the knowledge of the new Flemish technique throughout southern Europe. At the same time, the Italian method was also becoming known in that part of the world. The close relationship that bound Southern Italy to Spain made possible frequent exchanges between the painters of these two countries. Thus they kept themselves informed, respectively, on the technical progress that was being made. Spain, lying between Portugal and Italy, was the recipient of the influences coming from both north and south, and she became a meeting ground for painters from many countries. Her neighbor, Portugal, had sent her artists to Italy in the fifteenth century, but in the sixteenth century, Spain too had become a place of pilgrimage for artists, a position she continued to hold until the eighteenth century. The riches that were hers, as a result of the discoveries of her explorers, provided many wealthy patrons to play the part of Maecenus to those artists seeking their fortunes in her cities.
Already, in the fifteenth century, the new processes for painting in oil had taken hold in the Spanish studios and the influences of the various schools were reflected in the works of different masters. The influence that finally became predominant was that of the Venetian school, and it may have been El Greco (Domenico Theotocopoulos C. 1541-1614) who introduced this technique into Spain. He is generally reputed to have studied with ritian or Tintoretto, but he left Italy when he was still very young and settled in Spain, at Toledo.
But it was Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velasquez (1599-1660) who worked out a new variation of the older techniques. His own early influences were many. His first master