Zurbarán, Francisco de

Zurbarán, Francisco de

(fränthēs`kō thā tho͝orbärän`), 1598–1664, Spanish baroque painter, active mainly at Llerena, Madrid, and Seville. He worked mostly for ecclesiastical patrons. His early paintings, including Crucifixion (1627; Art Inst., Chicago), St. Michael (Metropolitan Mus.), and St. Francis (City Art Museum, St. Louis), often suggest the austere simplicity of wooden sculpture. The figures, placed close to the picture surface, are strongly modeled in dramatic light against dark backgrounds, indicating the influence of CaravaggioCaravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da
or Amerigi da Caravaggio
, 1571–1610, Italian painter. His surname, Caravaggio, came from his birthplace. After an apprenticeship in Milan, he arrived (1592) in Rome where he eventually became a retainer of Cardinal Francesco
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. They were clearly painted as altarpieces or devotional objects. In the 1630s the realistic style seen in his famous Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas (1631; Seville) yields to a more mystical expression in works such as the Adoration of the Shepherds (1638; Grenoble); in this decade he was influenced by Ribera's figural types and rapid brushwork. While in Seville, Zurburán was clearly influenced by VelázquezVelázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
, 1599–1660, b. Seville. He was the most celebrated painter of the Spanish school. Early Life and Work
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. After c.1640 the simple power of Zurbarán's work lessened as MurilloMurillo, Bartolomé Estéban
, 1617?–1682, Spanish religious and portrait painter. He was born in Seville, where most of his life was spent. There, c.1645, he painted a series of 11 pictures of the history of the Franciscan order for a monastery.
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's influence on his painting increased (e.g., Virgin and Child with St. John, Fine Arts Gall., San Diego, Calif.). There are works by Zurbarán in the Hispanic Society of America, New York City; the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Bibliography

See study by M. S. Soria (repr. 1955).

Zurbarán, Francisco de

 

Baptized Nov. 7, 1598, in Fuente de Cantos, Badajoz; died Aug. 27, 1664, in Madrid. Spanish painter.

Zurbarán studied in Sevilla with P. D. de Villanueva (from 1614) and, possibly, with F. Pacheco. He lived and worked in Llerena (Badajoz) from 1617 to 1628, at which time he settled in Sevilla.

Zurbarán’s most characteristic paintings are devoted to themes from the lives of saints and monasticism (for example, St. Bonaventura Praying Before the Election of Pope Gregory X, 1629, Dresden Picture Gallery). His early works show the strong influence of Caravaggio (for example, the retablo of St. Peter’s chapel in the Sevilla Cathedral, 1625). Works from Zurbarán’s most prolific period, from 1630 through the 1640’s, are marked by austere and simple monumental images that are dramatically intense yet nobly restrained in emotion. Beginning in the 1650’s elements of emotional excitation of an ecstatic or more lyrical tone appeared in the artist’s paintings (for example, The Crucifixion, early 1660’s, Hermitage, Leningrad). Zurbarán also painted mythological scenes, portraits, and still lifes.

REFERENCES

Malitskaia, K. M. Fransisko Surbaran: 1598–1664. Moscow, 1963.
Guinard, P. Zurbarán et les peintres espagnols de la vie monastique. Paris, 1960.