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Francisco de Zurbaran
Francisco de
Spain 1598−1664
Biography and information
Francisco de zurbarán (Francisco de Zurbarán), genius of the Golden age of Spanish painting, has a reputation as a painter of mystical and even somewhat "sinister". It is often called "the Spanish Caravaggio"- however, because of the rapid life that consists of adventure and crime, but due to the fact that for quite a while Zurbaran caravaggesque used sharp contrasts of light and shadow. And they say that nobody managed to Express a special, hot and passionate Spanish religion with such fulness and power, as it was Francisco de Zurbaran.

For a genius of such magnitude on the identity of Zurbaran know surprisingly little. Even arguing about what family he was.

The common legend, which is often interspersed with biographies of the artists, tells us, as little Francisco, the son of a poor peasant of Luis zurbarán, herding sheep on the outskirts of the village of Fuente de Cantos and from excess of free time something painted on the wood. Passing by the notable señor, he noticed the boy and took him to Seville to study. No wonder de Zurbaran subsequently with such fantastic material tangibility of the depicted lamb ("Lamb of God").

But the mother Zurbaran Isabella Marquez came from an old aristocratic family: her husband could not could be a farmer. Recently popular version is that the father Zurbaran traded rich fabrics, and a gallery written Francisco Christian martyrs (Casilda, Dorothea, Margarita, Apollonia, Isabellaand others) in gorgeous gowns – not that other as advertising the family business.

And it's true: the sanctity of their appearance are hardly visible, but the luxurious texture and a variety of fabrics can not but cause admiration. The only problem is that during the creation of this mysterious cycle of Zurbaran was about forty and has long ago left the parental roof.

One thing is certain: when Francisco turned 15, his father took him to the capital of Andalusia, Seville to his friend, named Pedro Diaz de Villanueva. Villanueva, the gang painted the statues used for religious processions. But Zurbaran learned early on: Villanueva for him to learn nothing and entered the Academy, led by art theorist Francisco Pacheco. Here he not only learned the basics of skill, but also met two other future famous artists Alonso Canoand Diego Velázquez. And if Kano subsequently invariably be seen in Zurbarán's opponent and to weave intrigues against him, Velasquez will be the Zurbaran other.

At the age of 19 Zurbaran completed a course of training in Pacheco, however, did weird and comrades, and for his teacher: refusing to pass a qualifying exam, left Andalusia home in Extremadura, where he settled in the small town of Lierna. About his work in this period is not known. But we know that Zurbaran hastened to marry. His choice was a young and well-off widow Maria pérez jiménez, the artist who gave birth to three children, but after six years of marriage, who had died suddenly. A couple of years Zurbaran marry again. And again, a rich widow. Beatriz de Morales was his senior by eight years. Alas, we will never know looked like these women – unlike most artists, inspired to write his beloved Zurbaran in their intimate life spectators is not allowed.

Portraits of the Zurbaran is also not preserved. He must have believed sinful or immodest to stick out his own "I". The noise and glitter of Seville, and later of the Metropolitan gloss Madrid remained alien to its inclusion, and to the harsh Patriarchal nature formed in the province.

But it is believed that one self-portrait of Zurbaran still wrote. Many times during his career, he will repeat the same picturesque story – "the Crucifixion". On a uniform black background stands out a wooden cross nailed to it lit figure. The contrast of light and shadows so vividly "vyleplivaet" folds of fabric, the muscles of the body, even the nails on the cross, when in 1627, the year the first of the "Crucifixes"Zurbaran was placed in a darkened alcove of one of the churches, the worshipers will think that this is not painting, and sculpture. And "The crucifixion" the end of 1630-ies(it can now be seen in Madrid's Prado) Zurbaran suddenly, there will be another hero – Evangelist, and Luke the painter, standing, with his hook-nosed profile at the cross. Some critics believe that this is a self-portrait of zurbarán.

Zurbaran's career truly began at about 1626, the year when, living in the province, he suddenly received a large order from Seville. The Dominican convent of San Pablo ordered him to a series of 21 paintings, at the end very quickly which made its author famous. Note that the instant fame he has achieved Zurbaran, is found in the history of painting is rare. But obviously, the restrained and emotional structure of his paintings is the best match to the phenomenon of Spanish religiosity. After the Dominicans to Zurbaran turned-off order mercenaries – they were written in the picture the life of the local Saint Pedro Nolasco. Zurbaran has not had time to complete the work for mercedarian as his persona interested in the Franciscans: from them, the artist receives the order to execute the 4 paintings on the life of the Christian mystic of the XII century Bonaventure. Well, almost monochrome image of St. Francis (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) become, as we would say now, "card" Zurbaran.

"None of the artists could not portray human belief so convincingly"– says modern British art critic Waldemar Januszczak.

When 1630-th year of the artist, tired of roaming through cities, and finally moved to live in Seville, the city authorities have been shockingly surprised that he still has no official status and given the title Zurbaran "honored painter of Seville"than, incidentally, aroused the jealousy of Alonso Cano. Now Zurbaran executes orders of the city authorities, but also continues its collaboration with the monastic orders: the famous "The Vision Of Alonso Rodríguez"written for the Jesuits, and "The Apotheosis Of Thomas Aquinas"for the Franciscans.

The paradox of the creative manner of Zurbaran in combination of the scale and monumentality of his work with verging on asceticism with economy of expression he uses. Art historians writes with admiration about the Zurbaran: "It is impossible to achieve a greater effect, using such minor means".

This, incidentally, applies not only to religious compositions, though few still-lifes, which is also a nice Zurbaran. "Still life with four vessels", "Still life with lemons and oranges"- their perfection in simplicity. There is nothing superfluous, no redundancy.

Spanish glory Zurbaran, meanwhile, grows and comes to Madrid. Velasquez, working at the court invites other youth to work to design a new Royal residence, the Palace of the Buen Retiro. Here Zurbaran is trying not his usual genres, he writes a battle scene "Defense Of Cadiz"and particularly liked king Philip IV the scene of the labors of Hercules (1, 2) is beloved of Spaniards-the ancient hero. But, obviously, the Zurbaran understand that it is not "it", and returned to Seville, despite the fact that the king was trying to keep masters in Madrid, having welcomed him the title of court painter.

In the 1640s Seville is gradually losing the importance of cultural capital, in addition, half of the city mows the merciless plague epidemic. In 1639-m died, the second wife of Zurbaran, but after 5 years he would marry again, by purchasing in the new marriage six more children, none of whom, alas, did not live to adulthood. Son Zurbaran named Juan was the only one of his father's children, who inherited his craft. It also became an artistwrote still lifes (for modern shows, they are exhibited together with the works of his great father) and helped my father in his workshop, but the early death of Juan became Zurbaran huge hit.

In Sevilla left affluent customers, which is interested in the art of Zurbaran. Besides fashion subtly changed: it is now held in high esteem was his harsh and clear compositions, but multi-colored and slightly cheesy, in the spirit of two decades younger artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo. Out of desperation Zurbaran even tried to imitate him: the colour of his last works became much lighter, there was an unknown before sentimentality (1, 2). But all was in vain: the former glory to return to the artist failed.

The last few years, until his death 27 Aug 1664 Zurbaran lived in poverty and oblivion.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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