In the life and work of Luis de Morales, known in the eighteenth century "Divine", a lot of mystery. It remains unclear, who have studied the artist, how was his creative formation. What is known is that he lived almost all his life in Badajoz, had a workshop, enjoyed the patronage of the City Council and the Bishop don jerónimo suárez. In 1561 Morales was invited to the court at the Escorial, but he wrote a picture of "the way of the cross of Christ" did not like Philip II, and the master returned to Badajoz. Creativity Morales takes a separate place in Spanish art. This is due to the fact that the artist lived in the province and was aloof from fashionable movements of the time. On the other hand, isolation contributed to the manifestation of his personality.
For the first time mentioned the name of Morales in 1546. It is known that he was born in Badajoz, in Extremadura, one of the most backward Spanish regions. Busy life Badajoz, who knew the dominion of the Moors and the power of the great feudal families, long relegated to the past. Subsided military skirmishes with the Portuguese at the border, held between the two countries just six kilometers from the city. Located on the banks of slow-flowing Guadalquivir and crowned with a large Gothic Cathedral, Badajoz looked asleep for centuries. Against the background of its noticeable artistic life stood the original altar painting, which the young Morales graced the Cathedral and the local Church. The decisive event in his provincial life was the patronage of the Bishop don Juan de Ribera. An outstanding figure in Spanish Catholicism and philanthropist, he later became Archbishop of Valencia, the founder in Valencia of the College of Corpus Christi, the so-called Collegium of Patriarch (Kollehio de Partiarch). Before Juan de Ribera left Badajoz, Morales wrote his portrait (before 1564, Prado). For his talent he was not a portraitist, but sought to subordinate the characteristic features of the young Bishop of the ideal picture of a spiritually rich, thinking person. The construction of the offspring of Philip II, a grandiose architectural complex in the desert, the rocky spurs of the Sierra Guadarrama began. The walls and vaults of various areas of the Escorial were decorated with paintings, which were performed by visiting Italian masters, mostly from the court-academic line of late mannerism. There is only speculation that Morales visited Italy. His acquaintance with the works of Netherlandish and Italian Mannerist linked with a possible trip to Seville, which at that time flourished Dutch painter Pedro Kempener (Spanish Pedro de campaña), known for its ecstatic patterns and enamel technique. For several months he has been based in Portugal (in the towns of Elvas and Evora). But his major activity was concentrated in a small Spanish towns, where 1563-68 he has created several large picturesque altars. The most famous and distinctive of his small-sized paintings are now in many European collections.
Being, apparently, an active and sociable person, Morales collaborated in Badajoz with the city Council, kept open house, had a stone house, servants and horses; many orders were executed by a workshop, where he worked at his sons Jeronimo and Juan.
In the history of Spanish painting Morales stands out. Isolated life in the province left a mark of archaism to his visual repertoire, however, created the possibility of original creative expression. In religious exaltation images of Morales ' sometimes lurks something medieval. His painting fuses together the works of Spanish mysticism, popular piety and spiritual aesthetics of mannerism, expression of the Northern masters and the sublime ideality of the Italians. Virtuoso, like enamel, the technique of writing close to the techniques of the Dutch school of the 15th century.
Stay Morales in a remote Spanish province did not bring a lot of income. By nature impractical and prone to waste, he constantly needed money. According to the story of Spanish painter from the 18th century biographer of painters Antonio Palomino, Philip II in 1581, returning from the conquered Portugal through Badajoz. said, "You are very old, Morales!". "And poor," replied slipnoose master. The king had set him a small pension, "to eat". "And dinner?" — exclaimed the old artist, that Philip II added another hundred ducats. But the last years of his life Morales were poor.