Francisco De Zurbarán Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions

11-7-1598 Fuente de Cantos, ESP – 8-27-1664 Madrid, ESP

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Zurbarán, Francisco De

In childhood, Francisco de Zurbaran set about imitating objects with charcoal. In 1614 his father sent him to Seville to apprentice for three years with Pedro Díaz de Villanueva.

Francisco de Zurbarán began his artistic career, he accepted a commission to produce several large paintings for the Retablo of San Pedro in the Seville cathedral and for the Carthusians of Santa María de las Cuevas. On January 17, 1626, Francisco de Zurbarán signed a contract with the prior of the Dominican monastery San Pablo el Real in Seville, agreeing to produce 21 paintings within 8 months. This commission established Zurbarán as a painter.

In 1627 he painted the great altarpiece of St. Thomas Aquinas, it was executed for the church of the college of that saint there. This is Francisco de Zurbarán's largest composition, containing figures of Christ, the Madonna, various saints, Charles V with knights, and Archbishop Deza with monks and servitors, all the principal personages being more than life-size. In June 1629 Francisco de Zurbarán was invited by the Elders of Seville to move to the city, as his paintings had gained such high reputation, that he would increase the reputation of Seville.

Painting in Spain's Golden Age.

In the context of world art and literature, the seventeenth century was Spain's Siglo de Oro (Golden Century). It was indeed a glorious century, whose cultural achievements made the country an essential reference point for understanding that century. But, each artist expressed his own vision of the world, thus reflecting the range of emotions in Spanish Baroque Art.

Zubaran did not care for dynamic compositions, but his static scenes and figures have a spiritual intensity and inner life that outweigh action and unfolding events. Typical of his works are his series of paintings of monks, saints, and Virgins, with intense expressions as in Santa Casilda, and frozen in eloquent poses. His images of infant and young girl saints, dressed in sumptuous garments, are particularly fascinating (if not disturbing). They gaze at the viewer in surprise or even astonishment and are powerfully defined by a light reminiscent of Caravaggio.

It is unknown whether Francisco de Zurbarán had the opportunity to copy the paintings of Caravaggio; at any rate, he adopted Caravaggio's realistic use of chiaroscuro and tenebrism. The painter who may have had the greatest influence on his characteristically severe compositions was Juan Sánchez Cotán.

He painted directly from nature, and he made great use of the lay-figure in the study of draperies, in which he was particularly proficient. He had a special gift for white draperies; as a consequence, the houses of the white-robed Carthusians are abundant in his paintings. To these rigid methods, Francisco de Zurbarán is said to have adhered throughout his career, which was prosperous, wholly confined to Spain, and varied by few incidents beyond those of his daily labor. Zurbarán died in poverty and obscurity.

Art Movement History: Baroque
Artists Influencing Francisco de Zurbaran: Pedro Díaz de Villanueva, Juan Sánchez Cotán, Caravaggio.
Painters Zurbaran Influenced: Bernabé de Ayala,
Partly From Wikipedia

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