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Francisco de Zurbaran was a Spanish painter from the Baroque, much inspired by Caravaggio, often regarded as the "Spanish Caravaggio." He is primarily known for his religious artworks depicting nuns, martyrs, and monks, as well as for his still-lifes.
Francisco de Zurbarán was born in November 1598 in the city of Fuente de Cantos, Spain. He would already show an interest in arts by his childhood, drawing objects with charcoal. By his sixteen years old, his father sent him to Seville, to be an apprentice under Pedro Díaz Villanueva, whom very little is known.
Zurbaran married for the first time in 1617, to María Paet, who died shortly after the birth of their first child, in 1624. Zurbaran would marry again in the following years to Beatrix de Morales, who was a wealthy widow.
Zurbarán signed a contract with a local Dominican monastery, which had him produce 21 paintings in eight months, most of them depicting the life and death of Saint Dominic. The others represented Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Bonaventura, and the Four Doctors of the Church. This very commissions established Zurbarán as a painter. Around his thirty years old, Zurbarán was commissioned by order of the Mercedarias of Seville to paint 22 pieces for their monastery. In the following year, Zurbarán was invited by the Elders of Seville to be relocated permanently to the city, for his paintings had gained keen attention, and his reputation was such that it alone could increase the very city's reputation. Zurbarán accepted the invitation, moving along with his wife, his three children from his first marriage, a relative, and eight servants. In May 1639, he lost his second wife, Beatriz.
Around 1630, Zurbarán was appointed painter to Philip IV, King of Spain and Portugal, and remembered by his art patronage. There is a story that states an occasion in which the King laid his hand upon the artist's shoulder and said, "Painter to the King, King of painters." After 1640, Zurbaran's harsh style was compared to Murillo's sentimentality unfavorably, which declined Zurbarán's popularity. By the end of the 1630s, Zurbarán's workshop produced several paintings to export them to South America.
In 1644 Zurbarán married for the third time, with Leonor de Torder, another wealthy widow. It was only by the end of his life that Zurbarán moved to Madrid in search of work, where he also renewed his contact with Velázquez. Francisco de Zurbarán would die six years later, in August 1664.