Francisco de Zurbarán [1598-1664]

Self portrait
Spanish painter

Francisco de Zurbarán

was born,
November 7, 1598
in Fuente de Cantos, Extremadura [Spain]

Zurbarán, was a quintessential monastic painter, absolutely identified with devout passion and miracles that he presented in a straightforward, direct, severe and everyday manner.

He was a faithful interpreter of monastic sentiments and he presented nature with an astonishing sense of reality . His use of light reflects the influence of Caravaggio -intense but never overly harsh- and serves to bring out the sculptural values of each shape. He never strayed from early 17th-century tenebrism, ignoring the Baroque’s decorative evolution as that century advanced, and it was only towards the end of his life that he attempted, with little success, to soften his formulas in order to more closely resemble Murillo.

Zurbarán was also known as the “Spanish Caravaggio,” owing to the forceful use of chiaroscuro in which he excelled.

So here’s a glimpse of his work [no quotes…]
Agnus Dei
Christ and the Virgin in the House at Nazareth
Immaculate Conception
Saint Luke as a Painter before Christ on the Cross
Santo Domingo en Soriano
Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose
The Adoration of the Shepherds
The Death of St. Bonaventure
The Flight into Egypt
The Young Virgin
portrait of Francisco Zumel
Saint Francis in Meditation
Apparition of the Apostle Peter to Saint Peter Nolasco
A Doctor of Law
The Annunciation
The Defence of Cádiz against the English
Saint Francis
Saint Rufina
Santa Isabel de Portugal
The Holy Family
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian
Visión de San Pedro Nolasco
Santa Isabel de Turingia
St. Margaret as a shepherdess
St. Francis
Saint Serapion

William Byrd

I have chosen

Agnus Dei

by the English composer of the Renaissance

William Byrd (1543-1623)

as Zurbarán, Agnus Dei,

was the first painting I saw from this artist and still my favorite one.

The Tallis Scholars • Dir. Peter Phillips

For more information on Zurbarán:


Be Safe

17 replies »

  1. Another artist I didn’t know, so thanks for sharing. Incredible detail with wonderful color balance. I like his style. Monastic seems like a bit of an understatement. 😉 … The Death of St Bonaventure was my favorite. Hope you had a good weekend.

  2. Excellent post. I’ve seen most of these paintings in person and they are wonderful. I love how he used himself as the painter admiring Christ on the cross. One thing we really miss about Madrid was our Sunday visits to the Prado.

    • Oh, you are so fortunate! I haven’t seen any of his paintings live and first one I saw was Agnus Dei which really really caught my attention!!!!! I agree, clever using himself as a painter in that painting.

        • I do… but I wonder if we’ll ever be able to travel again! Yes I have and Centre Pompidou and Musée d’Orsay, although my Louvre visit was short [was in Paris for a weekend].

          • I hope we can travel again. We’re supposed to go to Belgium in August 2021 for a conference that was postponed a year because of covid cooties. When we were in Paris for three weeks in 2013, we rented an apartment by the Opera that was one kilometer from the Louvre. We missed only one day of going to the Louvre because they closed it to the public while the President of France was visiting it. The Centre Pompidou and Musée d’Orsay were fun. Centre Pompidou is an interesting architectural concept, but I thought it did not function very well.

            We went to really cool show on dark romanticism at the Musée d’Orsay. Not only was it dark, but it was dark. The only lights on during the show were on the artwork. The show was only open late at night to enhance the darkness of the artwork.

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