Zurbaran, Francisco de Essay

Zurbaran, Francisco de

Zurbaran, Francisco de ( B. 1598, Fuente de Cantos, d. 1664, Madrid ) Spanish painter, born at Fuente de Cantos and active chiefly in Seville. He trained there 1614-17 and after a period at Llerena near his place of birth returned in 1629 as town painter. In 1634-35 he was in Madrid working for Philip IV on a series of 10 images on The Labors of Hercules and a big historical scene, The Defense of Cadiz ( all now in the Prado, Madrid ) , but apart from these images, a few portrayals, and some masterly still lifes, he devoted himself about wholly to spiritual plants. He worked for churches and monasteries over a broad country of southern Spain and his pictures were besides exported to South America.

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His compositionally simple and emotionally/direct reredoss, uniting severe naturalism with mystical strength, made him an ideal Counter-Reformation painter. The most characteristic of his plants are the individual figures of monastics and saints in speculation or

supplication, most of which seem to hold been executed in the 1630s. The figures are normally depicted against a field background, standing out with monolithic physical presence. Many of these monumentally grave figures are conceived in great series, such as The Members of the Mercedarian Order ( Academy, Madrid ) , or The Carthusian Saints ( Cadiz Museum ) . But there are individual images of the same sort. He painted legion images of St Francis, for illustration ( two in the National Gallery, London ) , and a figure of virgin saints.

Towards the terminal of his calling, Zurbaran ‘s work lost something of its power and simpleness as he tried to come to footings with the less ascetic manner of Murillo, who in the 1640s overtook him as the most popular painter in Seville. In 1658 he moved to Madrid, where he spent his concluding old ages. His boy Juan ( 1620-49 ) is known from a few still-life pictures.

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