Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 309–335 | Cite as

Art collections and taste in the Spanish Siglo de Oro

  • Federico EtroEmail author
  • Elena Stepanova
Original Article


We analyze art pricing in a unique dataset on Madrid inventories between 1600 and 1750. We estimate a price index for the Spanish art market that is used for a general historical analysis of art during this period, showing a large increase in the real price of paintings during the XVII century. Then we examine the price differential between domestic and foreign paintings: At the beginning of the century domestic production was priced substantially below imported paintings, but the price gap was gradually reduced during the century. We argue that such a price convergence was not the fruit of variations in real exchange rate, relative supply or home bias, but was associated with increasing prices for the new domestic painters of the XVII century. Increasing remuneration for painting may have induced artistic innovations by domestic producers and created the conditions for the development of the Siglo de Oro of Spanish art.


Schumpeterian hypothesis Lopez hypothesis International trade of paintings 

JEL Classification

Z11 N0 L14 D4 



We are thankful to Alessandro Nuvolari, Neil De Marchi, Martina Frank, Kathryn Graddy, Emanuela Lo Verde and two anonymous referees for comments.

Supplementary material

10824_2016_9267_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (77 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 77 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Sestiere CannaregioVeniceItaly
  2. 2.Laboratory of Economics and ManagementSant’Anna School of Advanced StudiesPisaItaly

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