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The lamb of God (Agnus Dei )

Painting, 1638, 35.6×52 cm

Description of the artwork «The lamb of God (Agnus Dei )»

"This lamb is worth more than a hundred live sheep!» – exclaimed one of the fans of Zurbaran. The statement is crude, but accurate. You don't even need to be an expert to understand that before us a masterpiece.

In comparison with works of other genres, still lifes of Zurbaran to have survived quite a bit. All of them, regardless of what is portrayed – flowers, fruits, crockery or even the lamb is written in the same manner close to the manner Caravaggio. Items positioned symmetrically on the front edge of the composition. Bright front light "pulls" them out of conventional dark background. Songs are always chosen simple and strong. But in the Agnus Dei Zurbaran conciseness, the method of construction of his still lifes, which is best defined by the words "nothing in excess» shall be informed of asceticism.

Interestingly, the same lamb is present as a fragment in multi-figure compositions "Adoration of the shepherds» (1638). This has prompted some researchers to call it still life not an independent work, but only a sketch, a sketch for a large picture. But it's amazing: the still life with the one lamb a much more significant and much more famous than the picture, in which the lamb only a cameo role.

Zurbaran loves to give items according to the principle: one picture, one object. But what does it do, what gives? Apparently, therefore, we can without spraying, focus on a single object, feel its beauty and significance.

The sacrificial lamb (in biblical terminology Agnus Dei, the lamb of God), of course, has a symbolic meaning. In the old Testament this animal is burned for the glory of God on the sacrificial altar in the New Testament is Christ, sacrificed for the redemption of human sins his own life. A thin circumference of the halo over the head of a lamb (in some versions of the painting) and his hooves connected criss-cross, Recalling the death on the cross, pointing to the sacred contents.

However, not symbolic, namely the material plane of the painting brought Zurbaran glory.

The curls of the sheepskin, you draw the subtle play of reflexes seem real to the viewer. The illusion of touch is so strong that I involuntarily want to touch them with your hand. Strict gamma Golden-gray and dark brown tones is not one of the bright patches. Zurbaran is manifested as a real genius in the details, writing out the eyelids of lamb with white eyelashes and a wet nose brushed horns and natural pollution matted hair.

Probably Agnus Dei, the famous surbanovski the lamb was for the emergence of biographical legends. She says, as if Francisco, the son of a poor peasant from the Spanish province of Badajoz, which first began to paint on bark of trees in those days, when a teenager herding lambs on the outskirts of the village of Fuente de Cantos. Allegedly, there he was noticed by a passing a Spanish grandee and took with him to Seville to give art education. Although true in this legend are is that geographical names that pay tribute to the force of impact on the minds of the picture, in which there is nothing but boards, dark background and a sacrificial lamb.

Today five known versions of the painting of Zurbaran "lamb of God", that proves that the painting was very popular during the life of the artist.

Author: Anna Yesterday
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Animalism, Religious scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1638

Size: 35.6×52 cm

Artwork in selections: 10 selections

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