Francisco Zurbaran's biography, creative work and interesting facts

This article will tell you about Spanish artist Francisco Zurbaran, who was the representative of the Seville school and the Golden age of Spanish painting. A contemporary and friend of Velazquez? Zurbaran was known for his religious paintings, which had great visual power and deep mystery. But his idea of painting different from the realism of Velasquez. Compositions are characterized by a chic black and white solutions, astounding.

Biography of Francisco Zurbaran

the Future great artist was born 7 Nov 1598 in the settlement of Fuente de Cantos in the Spanish province of Extremadura. His father, Luis Zurbaran, a Basque was a wealthy trader, previously settled in these places. The mother of the great Spanish artist's name was Isabel márquez. The parents of Francisco de Zurbaran married in the nearby town of Monesterio 10 Jan 1588. By the way, two other famous painter of the Spanish Golden century were born a little later Zurbaran: the great velázquez (1599-1660) and Alonso Cano (1601-1667).

creative ways

Perhaps his path as an artist began at the school of fine arts Juan de Roelas in his hometown of Fuente de Cantos. In 1614, Francisco Zurbaran adopted in the workshop of artist Pedro Diaz de Villanueva (1564-1654) in Seville, where he met with Alonso Cano in 1616. Spanish artist probably was also familiar with Francisco Pacheco, teacher of painting of Velazquez. In addition, it has had some influence artist Sanchez Kotan, as seen from the still life, who wrote about Zurbaran 1633.
His apprenticeship was completed in 1617, when he married Maria Paez. The painting "the Immaculate", which is considered the beginning of his professional career, presumably was written in 1616 and is currently kept in the private collection of Placido Arango. But experts believe that the actual date of writing of this canvas - 1656 year, because there is a noticeable influence of Titian and Guido Reni, which was more typical for the latest creative period of the artist.

Family of Francisco Zurbaran

In 1617 he settled in the city Larena, province of Extremadura, where were born his three children: Maria, Juan, Isabel. His only son Juan was born in 1620 and became a painter, like his father, he died during the great plague, which occurred in Seville in 1649. After the death of his first wife, Francisco remarried in 1625 Beatriz de Morales. Beatrice was the widow of the merchant who left her a good inheritance. She was ten years older, and Francisco Zurbaran, as his first wife. In 1939 Beatrice died from a serious illness. In 1644, he married for the third time on the Leonor de Tordera, daughter of a jeweller. She was twenty-eight years, and Zurbaran forty-six. They had six children.

Christian motives in the works

In 1622 he was already a recognized and influential artist. He was hired to paint a Church altar in his hometown. In 1626 in the presence of a notary, he signed a new contract with the society of preachers of the Dominican order of San Pablo El real in Seville. For eight months he had to draw twenty-one painting. In 1627 he wrote the painting "Christ on the cross" that is so admired by his contemporaries, that the municipal Council of Seville officially invited the artist in 1629 to settle in their city. A photo of the painting below.

this painting depicts the crucifixion of Christ. He was nailed to a rough wooden cross. White cloth circling his waist, draped in the Baroque style. It contrasts sharply with the well formed muscles of the body of Christ. His face is bowed to the right shoulder. The suffering that is intolerable, still gives way to his last wish of resurrection, before the last thought of the promised life. Exhausted the body of Christ demonstrates that. The style of this work of Francisco de Zurbaran - Baroque.
Like velázquez, Christ's feet in the painting by zurbarán nailed separately. At that time the artists tried to recreate the torment of the crucifixion. But many theologians believed that the bodies of Jesus and Mary have to be perfect. Zurbaran is well heeded these demands of the Church, establishing themselves as a prominent master at the age of 29. In 1631, the Spanish artist has created another masterpiece - the painting "the Apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas", which struck his contemporaries.

Moving to Seville

Francisco de Zurbaran was considered a painter of images, that is, a religious artist, specializing in images of saints. In 1628 zurbarán signed a new contract with one of Seville's monasteries. He settled in the city with his family and employees of his workshop. During this period he painted "San Serapio", depicting one of the monks-martyrs, who died in 1240, after the torture, which he allegedly subjected the English pirates.
Brothers of the Order, which belonged to San Serapio, in addition to the traditional vows of chastity, poverty and obedience declared a vow of atonement or blood. In agreement with him they promised to give my life in exchange for the rescue of the captives, who are afraid of losing their faith. Zurbaran wanted to Express the horror of torture and death, but to avoid the appearance in the composition of even a drop of blood. The white robe of a Martyr occupies a large part of the canvas and shows the death throes. Below are photos of this painting by Francisco Zurbaran.

Calling himself a master artist of the city of Seville, Spanish painter aroused the jealousy of his colleagues, for example, despised by Alonso Cano. Zurbaran refused to pass the exams, which gave him the right to use this title, because they thought their work and the recognition of great artists is more valuable than the opinion of the painters ' Guild of Seville opposed him. On Zurbaran was literally falling orders as from members of the noble families of Spain and of the great patrons of the monasteries.


In 1634, he travelled to Madrid. Stay in the capital was decisive for his artistic growth. He met his friend Diego Velasquez, with whom he analysed his own work. He was able to see paintings by Italian artists who worked in Spain, for example, Angelo Nardi and Guido Reni. In Madrid he became court painter. The king of Spain was impressed with the works of Francisco Zurbaran. As a court painter, he returned to Lereno where free painted for the Church of our lady of Granada, because he was devoted to the virgin Mary. There were also orders from several other churches and convents of Seville.

Painting "the Burial of the relics of St. Bonaventure"

In 1629 Zurbaran wrote a famous painting "the Burial of the relics of St. Bonaventure," which experts believe to be the crown of his work. St. Bonaventure died at approximately 1237. The work is painted in oil on canvas. The size of the picture is two and a half meters in height and two meters in width. The painting shows the dead body lying diagonally on a white drape. Around Audra the artist has depicted six Franciscan monks. Two of them pray, two people are talking, and others thinking. On the left side of the canvas are the king of Aragon, Pope Gregory X and Bishop of Lyons. The face of the dead contrasts with the faces of the people around him. A strong emphasis in the picture is a red cardinal's hat lying at the feet of Bonaventure. Composition is one of the most risky and best in the works of Francisco de Zurbaran. Usually his characteristic simplicity of the elements shown in the picture.

New market

Zurbaran also wrote religious paintings for the Spanish colonies in America. Sometimes a collection of paintings depicting the saints, contained more than a dozen works. In 1638 he demanded payment the amount that South American buyers owed him. An exceptional example of the work of Francisco Zurbaran, written for America, is a series of twelve paintings called "Tribes of Israel”. Three of her works are currently in Auckland, County Durham (England). It is assumed that they have not reached the destination due to pirate attacks. To 1636, Zurbaran expanded exports to South America.
Below you see a picture of "St. Jerome with angels."

In 1647 the Peruvian monastery ordered him thirty-eight paintings, twenty-four of which had to be large. On the American market, he also sold some paintings, not concerning religious subjects, such as still lifes. They compensated for the decrease in the Andalusian clientele.

still life

the Painting "Lemons, oranges and rose" is the only still life by Francisco Zurbaran, which was signed and dated by the artist. On the canvas depicts a yellow citron on the plate, orange oranges in a basket, and a Cup on a silver plate behind it rose. All of these items stand out clearly on a dark background behind them. Many experts believe that the fruits and kitchen utensils are religious metaphor of the Holy Trinity.
Below are photos of the work.

still life "Plate and Cup with rose" is in the London gallery. In Madrid houses a painting of the "Four vessel", which is considered the most famous work of Zurbaran in this genre.

Again for South America

Also, Zurbaran signed a contract with the buyers of the colonies, under which he sold in Buenos Aires fifteen paintings of the martyrs, fifteen images of kings and famous people, twenty-four paintings depicting saints and patriarchs (all large size), and nine Dutch landscape.
Painting "St. Domingo" is one of them. You can see it below.

the Last years of the life of a painter

Francisco Zurbaran died at the age of 65 years. In recent years, he had a few orders and have lost their popularity. There is a myth that the great artist died in poverty, but it is not. After his death, he left a good legacy for your children in the amount of twenty thousand reais. His paintings are held in Museum collections around the world.