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Saint Francis in Meditation
Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

Saint Francis in Meditation 1639

Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664)

The National Gallery, London

(bapt. Fuente de Cantos, Extremadura, 7 Nov. 1598; d Madrid, 27 Aug. 1664). Spanish painter, active mainly in Seville, which lies about 100 km (60 miles) to the south of the village where he was born. He trained in Seville, 1614–17, then spent the next decade working at Llerana, near his birthplace. In 1627 he made his name with a powerful Christ on the Cross (Art Inst. of Chicago), painted for the Dominican monastery of S. Pablo in Seville, and its success led him to settle in the city in 1629. In 1634–5 he visited Madrid, where he worked for Philip IV (see Habsburg), painting for the Buen Retiro Palace a series of ten pictures on The Labours of Hercules and a large historical scene, The Defence of Cadiz (all now in the Prado, Madrid); apart from these pictures, a few portraits, and some masterly still lifes, he devoted himself almost entirely to religious images.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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