Friday, July 11, 2008

Francisco de Zurbaran

Francisco de Zurbaran was extremely talented but far less popular than Velazquez. Zurbaran was born in Spain in 1598. His parents were peasants and supported him in art as much as they could.

He worked as an apprentice in Seville in 1616 and 1617. There, he met Velazquez. The two were leading painters of the city.

When Zurbaran finished his apprenticeship, he began to paint religious scenes for churches in his area. He was a great portrait painter and his serious paintings of religious figures were well liked in the churches. Especially impressive was the way Zurbaran painted fabric draping around bodies or hanging from windows. For example, look at the painting below.
Many churches asked Zurbaran to paint for him and he did well for awhile. Around 1630, Zurbaran was even named a “Painter to the King.” After 1640 though, his solemn style fell out of popularity and he received fewer and fewer requests for paintings.
In 1658, Zurbaran moved to Madrid in search of work. Velazquez, his old friend from Seville, helped Zurbaran find work.
When Zurbaran died in 1664 he did not have much money and his popularity had passed. He was unknown outside of Spain. Today, collectors around the world seek his work, but Zurbaran’s paintings are not found in many museums outside of Spain.

The paintings above, in order, are St. Francis, a painting of a Carthusian monk (I don't know the title in English), The Apostle St. Andrew, and St. Francis in Meditation.

Enjoy your weekend!

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