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Main | Art magazine | A devout religiosity. Impressive paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán, who lived during the "golden age" of Spanish painting.
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A devout religiosity. Impressive paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán, who lived during the "golden age" of Spanish painting.

A devout religiosity. Impressive paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán, who lived during the "golden age" of Spanish painting.

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Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) - Spanish artist, who created in the "golden age" of Spanish painting, and earned a reputation no less peculiar and sinister than the famous Caravaggio. He was even called "Spanish Caravaggio", but not because of the violent temperament, although the life of de Zurbarán could not be called calm and measured, as he managed to survive many adventures, and because of the adherence to sharp light shade when writing his paintings. However, the main thing in his work - no one surpassed his ability to convey a sincere, typically Spanish religiosity, embodied in many impressive images of holy martyrs and Jesus Christ.

The Vision of Blessed Alonso Rodriguez

The origin of de Zurbarán is shrouded in mystery and has given rise to many legends. One of them said that Zurbarán lived in a peasant family, in his youth worked as a shepherd and from boredom drew something on the tree bark. A passing aristocrat noticed the art and was so impressed by it that he paid for his studies in Seville. However, his mother came from a noble family and was unlikely to have married a simple shepherd. So it is likely that Francisco lived in relative prosperity, and, according to the generally recognized version, his father was a cloth merchant. It is possible that many of Zurbarán's paintings of Christian martyrs in elaborate outfits simply advertised their family business and attracted new customers.

St. Casilda Saracen

At the age of 15, Francisco went to study in Seville, where he enrolled in the local Academy of Fine Arts, which was headed by Francisco Pacheco. It was there that he not only learned the basics of painting, but also met two other prominent Spanish artists, Diego Velázquez and Alonso Cano. With Cano he did not immediately develop relations, and all his life he plotted against Francisco any intrigues, but with Velasquez he was friends for many years, and the artists supported each other in everything.

St. Margaret of Antioch

After 4 years, Zurbarán did very strange in the opinion of teachers and comrades: all abandoned, although there was only to pass the qualifying exam, and went to a small town of Lieren. However, soon everything became clear: Francisco married a rich and young widow and lived happily ever after. She gave him three children, but six years later she died. Two years later, Zurbarán repeated the well-trodden maneuver: again his chosen one - a rich widow, who was 8 years older than the artist.

The Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas.

But his career as a painter really began after 1626, when Zurbaran received a good commission to paint 21 paintings for the monastery of San Pablo. They made a real sensation and immediately made Zurbaran a real celebrity. He managed to embody on canvas martyrs and saints in full compliance with all Spanish religious tenets, and their restrained emotions, perfectly painted fabrics and clothing, sharp light shade, enhancing the desired mood as best as possible corresponded to the customer's ideas about what should be real paintings, for which it is not a pity to spend money.

The defense of Cadiz against the English

Zurbaran's fame grew, orders came one after another: from the Dominicans, Franciscans, Mercedarians, etc. "No one has ever managed to portray human faith so convincingly" - said about the paintings of Zurbaran art critics, and we can only agree with them.

Hercules' struggle with the Nemean lion

His artistic style is paradoxical in many ways: Zurbaran managed to create truly large-scale and epochal paintings, full of emotion, using only very ascetic means to express them. Unlike the artwork of the Mannerists, Zurbaran's paintings are brilliant in their simplicity, and that is their special charm: there is nothing superfluous that would only distract from the main thing.

And what do you think of the artist's paintings - write in the comments.


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