Francisco de Herrera
† 1654 Madrid
Among the painters of Sevillan baroque, Francisco de Herrera occupied a key role.
Francisco Herrera was born in Sevilla son of the painter and engraver Juan de Herrera y Aguilar either in 1576 or around 1589/91. Acordingly, he was taught lessons in art from his father, before he was active in the studio of Francisco Pacheco presumably between1604 and 1608.
In his early period of artistic activity up until 1614 Francisco de Herrera was only active as engraver.
In 1610 Francisco de Herrera was given permission to open his own workshop and to train students. It is said that Diego Velázquez was an apprentice of Francisco de Herrera for some time.
The first painting by Francisco de Herrera is dated 1614. Mannerism echoes in his works up until the second half of the 17th century, however, he soon abandoned it and changed his style. Works by Alonso Vázquez and Pablo de Céspedes inspired Francisco Herrera el Viejo in his early period. As of around 1620, however, Francisco de Herrera turned to a highly modern type of Naturalism and reached the height of his creation.
His star had been rising steadily in Sevilla since 1615. Numerous commissions for frescoes and paintings deliver proof of the enthusiasm that his religious paintings had caused.
In 1619 the great elation was clouded by a dispute with the gild which accused Francisco de Herrera of not having an appropriate license for training apprentices. Similar conflicts followed over the years, the painter was regarded belligerent and everything but affable. However, he was still very successful and overwhelmed with commissions. He made numerous altar screens and private paintings.
After 1638 Francisco de Herrera relocated to Madrid, where he painted his last known work "S. José y el Nińo Jesús" (today Museo Lázaro Galdiano) in 1648. In 1654 Francisco de Herrera died in Madrid.