ZURBARANZURBARAN
1598 - 1664

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   More Zurbaran´s pictures: "A little history of Art"

Still Life
(Bodegón)
ORIGINAL SIZE: 18" X 33"

A combination of four subjects on one plane.His geometric structure and composition demonstrate a meticulous study for the masterful creation of this still life.
This still life´s composition seems simple , however the light invading from the left, the placement of the subjects at different angles, and the obvious intentional focussing on the handles, demonstrates a meticulous placement study and form.

Curiousity: none of the subjects´ handles are placed at the same angle.

Zurbaran
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Zurbarán
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St. Luke the Painter before Christ on the Cross
(San Lucas ante Cristo en la Cruz)
Painted 1660.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 1.05/0.84 m

This is one of the artistes most dramatic pictures. Christ appears emaciated, with his feet bound and attached to the cross with four nails. The technique of tenebrism gives this figure a poignant touch, which changes dramatically when focussing on the other character in the picture, the painter. The painter studies his model indifferently, and not with the religious fervor expected of a saint. According to legend, St. Luke was a painter and Zurbarán, who produced a portrait of himself in order to give shape to this saint, represents him engaged in his hobby and not in an act of devotion.

Consuelo López
Bachelor of Hispanic Philology


St. Casilda
(Santa Casilda)
Painted 1638-42.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 1.84/0.9 m

As the model for St. Casilda, Zurbarán used a lady of the court, probably a friend or someone he knew, and carried out a portrait in which he combines religious symbolism with courtesan fashion of the 17th century. In the painting, the elegance, serenity and dignity of the woman is emphasized. Likewise, he impresses upon the luminosity of the materials, stateliness of the costume, and fineness of the brocade. According to legend, St. Casilda, who was daughter of a muslim king of Toledo, carried bread hidden in her clothes, to feed the hungry captured christians. On one occasion, the soldiers questioned what she was carrying in her skirt, and as she showed them the bread, it turned into a bouquet of roses.

Consuelo López
Bachelor of Hispanic Philology

Zurbarán
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Zurbarán
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Vision of St. Peter Nolasco
(Visión de San Pedro Nolasco)
Painted 1629.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 1.70/2.23 m

This vision of Zurbarán´s illustrates, as in few canvases, the difficulty which the painter must overcome in order to combine the idea which inspires the painting and the technique in which it is carried out. This points out three errors: the perspective in which he places the table and chair, the lack of expression in St. Peter Nolasco and the need for celestial feeling in the angel.
Neither did the painter get the representation of the city of Jerusalem right, which appears in the top left corner of the picture. On the other hand, the capacity to capture the visible reality and the development of realism, which spread its roots in Caravaggio, are tangible qualities of the painter.

Consuelo López
Bachelor of Hispanic Philology

 

Apparition of the Apostle St. Peter to St. Peter Nolasco
(Aparición del Apostol San Pedro a San Pedro Nolasco)
Painted: 1629.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 1.79/2.23 m

Zurbarán uses light as the main life source of realism which pervades this picture. Light, as divinity itself, as manifestation of the supernatural.
It emphasizes the monumental character of the apostle, who stands out with his sculptural air, thanks to the technique of tenebrism – the contrast of light and dark. The pictures interest lies in the intention to indoctrinate, to teach the faithful, to show them the truth of faith. The painting is viewed as some sort of rhetoric in which the content, the idea, is offered to the onlooker from a noble presentation. Again, it is necessary to point out that the painter made structural errors, with regard to the perspective which he corrects with a curtain of clouds.

Roberto Bueno
Bachelor of Art History

 
Zurbarán
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Zurbarán
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Defense of Cádiz Against the English
(Defensa de Cádiz ante los ingleses)
Painted: 1634.
ORIGINAL SIZE: 3.02/3.23 m

This is the only picture with a historical theme that the artist painted.
Zurbarán shows his limited capacity for the profane composition. He tries to create a theatrical scene in order to endow credibility on the warlike conflict.
For this, he divides the canvas into two planes: in one part appear the defenders – isolated and timeless figures, a true portrait gallery through which he is unable to portray the state of their souls. In the other the battle is immortalized – probably copied from some 16th century Flemish tapestry. Once again, the painter shows his weak resources for outlining perspectives.

Roberto Bueno
Bachelor of Art History

 


 
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