Francisco de Zurbarán (1598 - 1664)

  • November 7, 1598
    Fuente de Cantos, Spain
  • August 27, 1664
    Madrid, Spain

Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), of Basque origin, was a Spanish painter, relatively unknown, best known primarily for his religious paintings depicting monks, nuns, and martyrs, and for his still-lifes and, for a few years, court portraits in Madrid. Zurbarán gained the nickname Spanish Caravaggio, owing to the forcible, realistic use of chiaroscuro in which he excelled. It is unknown whether Zurbarán had the opportunity to copy the paintings of Michelangelo da Caravaggio. He worked in oils and was clearly, at some point, acquainted with the works of Michelangelo.

Zurbarán was born in the suburb of Fuente de Cantos in Extremadura, on the boundaries of Andalusia, November 7, 1598. He was son of Luis Zurbarán, a haberdasher, and Isabel Márquez. In childhood he set about imitating objects with charcoal. In 1614 his father sent him to Seville to apprentice for three years with Pedro Díaz de Villanueva, an artist of whom very little is known. While in Seville, Zurbarán married Leonor de Jordera, by whom he had several children. In order to support himself he had to become an art dealer, though he was not successful in business either.

Francisco de Zurbarán Paintings

Apostle St Andrew Defence of Cadiz against the English Immaculate Conception Immaculate Conception Immaculate Conception Meditation of St Francis Portrait of the Duke of Medinaceli Saint Luke as a Painter before Christ on the Cross St Agatha St Casilda of Burgos St Hugo of Grenoble in the Carthusian Refectory St Margaret