Zurbarán, Francisco de

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Zurbarán, Francisco de

Zurbarán, Francisco de (fränthēsˈkō ᵺā tho͝orbäränˈ), 1598–1664, Spanish baroque painter, active mainly at Llerena, Madrid, and Seville. One of the finest painters of 17th-century Spain, surpassed only by the great Velázquez, Zurbarán worked mostly for ecclesiastical patrons. His early paintings, including Crucifixion (1627; Art Inst., Chicago), St. Michael (Metropolitan Mus.), and St. Francis (City Art Mus., 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 Caravaggio. 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 Velázquez. After c.1640 the simple power of Zurbarán's work lessened as Murillo'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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.