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Francisco de Zurbaran, paintings and biography

Francisco de Zurbaran, paintings and biography



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The great Spanish artist was born two years before the end of the 16th century in the province of Extremadura in the south-west of the country bordering Portugal. He entered the textbooks on the history of art as one of the most famous artists of the Seville school of painting, nevertheless having his own recognizable writing style.

The future master studied in Seville, which was then a recognized center of arts and crafts. There he met and studied with many artists who in the future gained world fame, in particular, with Diego Velazquez.

After completing his studies at a Seville school with a local master, the next artist worked for a year in the small town of Lleeren from his home province (1617-1618), then returned, where he settled down firmly for the next five years.

Just a couple of years after that, Zurbaran was already a well-known artist who specialized in church painting. He creates 21 paintings for the Dominican monastic order. This cycle includes the canvas, which later became very famous - "Christ on the Cross."

Over the next two years, from 1628 to 1630, the master writes a series of paintings about St. Pedro Nolasco and another group of works dedicated to St. Bonaventure.

The year 1631 became very significant in the life and creative career of the artist. He created a canvas called "The Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas." This picture received the status of a masterpiece during the life of the artist.

The following year, Zurbaran moves to Madrid, where he becomes a court painter. In those days, this title brought solid income, serious connections and recognition among the wealthy and powerful aristocrats.

In the capital, Zurbaran worked on decorating one of the king’s new palaces, so he was distracted from classical religious painting for a long time. He owns ten paintings describing the exploits of Hercules, and a masterpiece of monumental painting called "The Defense of Cadiz."

Like many other artists before him, Zurbaran’s work was greatly influenced by the legacy of the Italian Renaissance, as well as the work of his great contemporaries. Under the influence of new themes and artistic trends for him, the master, after he again settled in Seville, created a number of famous works that were intended for the monastery in the city of Jerez. Of these, canvases such as “The Annunciation”, “Christmas” and “Adoration of the Magi” are known more than others.

In the thirties of the XVII century, the peak of fame and popularity of Zurbaran fell. During this period, new churches and monasteries were actively erected on the lands of South America conquered by Spain. They need to be decorated and decorated with religious paintings. Many of them are ordered from Zurbaran, which spreads his fame as a brilliant artist beyond the Old World. His paintings are well-arranged, expressive and perfectly convey volume and form, the play of light and shadow.

In the last years of the artist’s work, there has been a time of passion for portraits of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the holy family. During these years, he creates expressive portraits of children - "The Adolescence of the Madonna", "Madonna and Child".

Since 1658, Zurbaran again lives in the capital. But his "golden age" has passed, no one is interested in the work of the master, customers have found younger and more fashionable artists. Even with the support of Diego Velazquez, a longtime acquaintance, Zurbaran is in poverty and suffering from financial turmoil. His life is rapidly declining, and in 1664 he dies at the age of only 65 years.

Today, grateful compatriots have not forgotten the great master. In Seville, there is a monument to Francisco de Zurbaran, the artist who took painting to a new level.


Watch the video: ZURBARÁN - Paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán in The State Hermitage Museum,. (August 2022).