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de Zurbarán, Francisco [Spanish, 1598-?1664] 











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de Zurbarán, Francisco [Spanish, 1598-?1664]

[ 17th Century Artists | Baroque Artists | Religious Artists ]

Francisco de Zurbarán (b. 1598, Fuente de Cantos, d. 1664, Madrid) was a Spanish painter of saints and churchmen. His use of sharply defined, often brilliant, colors, minute detail in simple compositions, strongly three-dimensional modeling of figures, and the shadowed light that brightly illuminates his subjects all give his paintings a solidity and dignity evocative of the solitude and solemnity of monastic life. His work at its best fuses two dominant tendencies in Spanish art, realism and mysticism.

Zurbarán was born of Basque ancestry in Fuente de Cantos, Badajoz Province, on November 7, 1598. He was apprenticed to a minor Spanish painter in Seville but appears to have been influenced early in his career by Michelangelo. In 1617 he went to work in Llerena, and in 1629, at the invitation of the town council, he settled in Seville. Zurbarán spent the next 30 years there, with the exception of two years (1634–35) that he spent in Madrid working for the royal court. Zurbarán left Seville in 1658, after his reputation declined there; he died in Madrid on August 27, 1664.

Zurbarán was only slightly influenced by Diego Rodriguez Velázquez and Jusepe de Ribera. Late in his career, however, he changed his style, according to some critics, for the worse, after being influenced by Bartolomé Estéban Murillo.

Zurbarán's earliest known work, painted when he was 18 years old, is Immaculate Conception (private collection, Bilbao). Other notable early works include Crucifixion (1627–29, Museum of Fine Arts, Seville); several large scenes of the life of St Peter Nolasco (died 1256), the founder of the Mercedarians, originally done for a convent in Seville (1628–29); The Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas (1631, Museum of Fine Arts, Seville); and Still Life with Oranges (1633, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena).

The image that accompanies this article is a detail from Saint Luke as a Painter before Christ on the Cross (see full painting, below). It is widely believed to be a self-portrait.

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  de Zurbarán, Francisco [Spanish, 1598-?1664]

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Size: 162 KB [thumbnail of vision_of_st_peter_o]
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Type: JPG
File: vision_of_st_peter_o
Title: The Vision of St Peter of Nolasco
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Type: JPG
File: mercedarians.JPG
Title: The Virgin Mary Bestowing the Habit of Mercedarians on Saint Peter Nolasco
Size: 135 KB [thumbnail of adoratio+.jpg]
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File: adoratio+.jpg
Title: The Adoration of the Shepherds
Size: 152 KB [thumbnail of immaculate_conceptio]
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File: immaculate_conceptio
Title: Immaculate Conception
Size: 83 KB [thumbnail of st_francis.jpg]
Dims: 536 x 700
Type: JPG
File: st_francis.jpg
Title: Saint Francis
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File: doctor_of_law.jpg
Title: Doctor of Law
Size: 83 KB [thumbnail of still_life.jpg]
Dims: 1263 x 700
Type: JPG
File: still_life.jpg
Title: Still-life with Lemons, Oranges and Rose
Size: 261 KB [thumbnail of aquinas.jpg]
Dims: 507 x 640
Type: JPG
File: aquinas.jpg
Title: The Apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas
Size: 108 KB [thumbnail of bonavent.jpg]
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File: bonavent.jpg
Title: The Lying-in-State of St. Bonaventura
Size: 125 KB [thumbnail of apparition-of-st-pet]
Dims: 856 x 678
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File: apparition-of-st-pet
Title: The Apparition of Apostle St Peter to St Peter of Nolasco
Size: 149 KB [thumbnail of st_luke.jpg]
Dims: 1100 x 1364
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File: st_luke.jpg
Title: Saint Luke as a Painter before Christ on the Cross
Size: 52 KB [thumbnail of crucifixion.jpg]
Dims: 574 x 1023
Type: JPG
File: crucifixion.jpg
Title: Crucifixion
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