Juan de Zurbaran Paintings

Francisco de Zurbar¨¢n (baptized November 7, 1598; died August 27, 1664) was a Spanish painter. He is known primarily for his religious paintings depicting monks, nuns, and martyrs, and for his still-lifes. Zurbar¨¢n gained the nickname Spanish Caravaggio, owing to the forceful, realistic use of chiaroscuro in which he excelled.

Zurbar¨¢n was born in 1598 in Fuente de Cantos, Extremadura; he was baptized on November 7 of that year. His parents were Luis de Zurbar¨¢n, a haberdasher, and his wife, Isabel M¨¢rquez. In childhood he set about imitating objects with charcoal. In 1614 his father sent him to Seville to apprentice for three years with Pedro D¨ªaz de Villanueva, an artist of whom very little is known.[4] His first marriage, in 1617 was to Mar¨ªa Paet who was 9 years older. They had several children, and Mar¨ªa died after the third child in 1624. In 1625, he married again to wealthy widow Beatriz de Morales. A little later Francisco de Zurbar¨¢n began his artistic career, he accepted a commission to produce several large paintings for the Retablo of San Pedro in the Seville cathedral and for the Carthusians of Santa Mar¨ªa de las Cuevas. On January 17, 1626 Francisco de Zurbar¨¢n signed a contract with the prior of the Dominican monastery San Pablo el Real in Seville, agreeing to produce 21 paintings within 8 months. This commission established Zurbar¨¢n as a painter. In June 1629 Francisco de Zurbar¨¢n was invited by the Elders of Seville, to move to the city, as his paintings had gained such high reputation, that he would increase the reputation of Seville. He accepted the invitation and moved to Seville with his wife Beatrix de Morales, the three children from his first marriage, a relative called Isabel de Zurbar¨¢n and eight servants. In May 1639 his second wife, Beatriz de Morales, died. Towards 1630 he was appointed painter to Philip IV, and there is a story that on one occasion the sovereign laid his hand on the artist's shoulder, saying "Painter to the king, king of painters." After 1640 his austere, harsh, hard edged style was unfavorably compared to the sentimental religiosity of Murillo and Zurbar¨¢n's reputation declined. On February 7, 1644 Francisco married a third time with another wealthy widow, Leonor de Torder. It was only in 1658, late in Zurbar¨¢n's life that he moved to Madrid in search of work and renewed his contact with Vel¨¢zquez. Zurbar¨¢n died in poverty and obscurity.