Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Juan Sanchez Cotan

Juan Sanchez Cotan, as I told you yesterday, is remembered for his bodegones (still lifes). He was born in Spain in 1560 and painted during the Baroque period.

Cotan worked as an apprentice and then opened his own workshop. He painted in Toledo for about twenty years.
Like most Spanish painters of the time, Cotan painted many religious paintings. Religious paintings make up the bulk of his work. Critics agree, though, that his religious paintings are not special. His bodegones, however, were unlike anything that had been painted before and unlike anything else being created at the time.
In his bodegones, Cotan painted fruits and vegetables against black backgrounds. The food was always very well lighted which allowed Cotan to paint every detail. This helped the fruits and vegetables look real. You’ll notice that some of the food is hanging on strings. This is because people used to hang their produce so it wouldn’t go bad as quickly.

In 1603, Cotan decided to become a Carthusian monk. He stopped painting bodegones, preferring to paint religious scenes instead. He was still a popular artist when he died in 1627.

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