During the first half of the 18th century the Bourbon dynasty, under Philip V, succeeding the Hapsburgs on the Spanish throne, brought major changes to patronage of the arts. They preferred Italian architects to build and enlarge their palaces and gardens, and turned to the styles and artists of Bourbon France. Indeed, Philip V hired French artists to decorate the rooms of the new royal palace in the style of Versailles, and the artists themselves brought the mythological themes and profuse decoration fashionable in France at the time. Big European names like Tiepelo and Mengs also were active in Spain, and had substantial influence.
The second half of the century brought the rise of Neo-Classicism, due, as elsewhere in Europe, to the world’s discovery of the ruins in Pompeii and Herculaneum in 1748.
Spanish artists, almost entirely excluded from the court, had some trouble adapting to the new Rococo and Neo-Classical styles; they continued in the Baroque style to produce religious works or portraits.
The courtly elegance of Rococo never left a great mark on Spanish painting, however, and it slipped through Academiscism to a style that could be called pre-Romantic.
The end of the century brought the great Francisco Goya.