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Francisco de Zurbarán

Biographies
Francisco de Zurbarán

*  1598 Fuente de Cantos Francisco
† 1664 Madrid


Francisco de Zurbarán was born at Fuente de Cantos, a small village in the region Extremadura, in 1598. The son of a simple farming family completed an apprenticeship in Seville, the center of Spanish baroque painting. Francisco de Zurbarán worked for Pedro Díaz Villanueva for three years as of 1614. In Seville Francisco de Zurbarán also came in contact with Francisco Herrera the Elder, Alonso Cano and Diego Velázquez. With the latter Francisco de Zurbarán was in close friendship.
In 1617 Francisco de Zurbarán completed his education and went back to the Extremadura, to Llerena to be more exact. Francisco de Zurbarán relocated to Seville, the artistic center, as of 1626, in 1628 he was officially appointed the city's painter. It did not take long until Francisco de Zurbarán developed a reputation as an excellent painter with a large and successful studio. That, of course, caused envy with some, but Francisco de Zurbarán stuck to his path with great determination.
Francisco de Zurbarán's great expressive power became obvious in his early artworks, which show ardent and yet strong-realistic human figures, as well as a dramatic brightness contrast in the style of Caravaggio. Additionally, his paintings are characterized by a pictorial daintiness as far as materiality is concerned and a subtle coloring. Francisco de Zurbarán was even able to wrest different shades from the "non-color" white.
In 1633 Francisco de Zurbarán went to Madrid, where he settled for good in 1658. He was awarded the honorary title "pintor del Rey" and he made a very mature and strong main body of works.
Francisco de Zurbarán's star began to wane when he got older, which did not impact the painter's creative power. Many his works were brought to South America.
At the end of his life the acclaimed artist even got into financial straits and died almost a poor man in Madrid in 1664.