Standard Article

Zurbaran, Francisco De (1598–1664)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0405

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Zurbaran, Francisco De (1598–1664). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


This Spanish artist's most productive years were from 1635, during which he painted mainly for religious orders. His first documented commission was in 1636 for a cycle of paintings for the Dominicans of S. Pablo el Real in Seville. Another commission was the series painted for the Merced Calzada (1629–1630), including Vision of St. Peter Nolasco and Fray Francisco Zumel. He settled in Seville at the invitation of the city council in 1629. His first work there was part of a cycle dedicated to St. Bonaventura, painted for the Franciscans. He was at his best when painting isolated figures, such as St. Francis in Meditation (1655), or martyr virgins, such as St. Margaret (1634). He was the favorite painter of the monastic orders, who loved his blend of realism and spirituality. However, he stopped receiving major commissions from the monasteries after 1650. But he continued to paint religious subjects, including Virgin and Child with the Infant St. John (1656) and St. Francis in Meditation (1658). Among his noblest works is the Martyrdom of St. Serapion (1628), a martyr of the Mercedarian Order. His two versions of St. Francis (1635 and 1639) are unforgettable in their simplicity. St. Bonaventura at the Council of Lyons and the Saint on his Bier include very sensitive portraits. He displays a superb sense of the color white in the Adoration of the Magi (1638), and his portraits of Carthusian and Mercedarian saints.


  • Spanish artist;
  • cycle of paintings, for dominicans of s. pablo el real in seville;
  • series painted for the Merced Calzada (1629–1630);
  • St. Francis in meditation;
  • virgin and child with the infant ST. John;
  • portraits of carthusian and mercedarian saints