San Buenaventura receiving the Franciscan habit of Herrera “El Viejo”

San Buenaventura receiving the Franciscan habit of Herrera “El Viejo”
San Buenaventura receiving the Franciscan habit of Herrera “El Viejo”
Anonim

Francisco Herrera “El Viejo” (1576 – 1656) was a Spanish painter of the Baroque who can be considered the true introducer of realism in the splendid Andalusian painting of the 17th century.

However, his name has been somewhat overshadowed by other great artists of that time and place, such asVelázquez,Murillo orZurbarán. In addition to the fact that Herrera was a character with a rather difficult character, very irritable, which did not make relationships easy for him. And even his life was quite eventful, with criminal episodes such as counterfeiting currency. From whose punishment in prison he escaped by direct order ofKing Felipe IV, who admired his art and made him move from Seville to Madrid, in whose court he would end up dying.

Saint Bonaventure receiving the Franciscan habit from Herrera the Elder

Saint Bonaventure receiving the Franciscan habit from Herrera the Elder

But apart from his personal facts, the truth is that the art of Francisco Herrera is of extraordinary value with paintings like this one of Saint Bonaventure receiving the habit Franciscan which is currently kept in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, although it was originally made for the Sevillian convent of San Buenaventura, where he also worked Zurbarán.

This work on canvas was made in 1628 and is aa good example of the style he developed during his early years as a painter. During all that time, in his works the colors of toasted tones always predominate. And above all they stand out for their faces, some tremendously realistic while others seem to be blurred faces, something that critics have attributed to the instability of the character of the painter himself, who throughout the development of his works could do them with variable states of mind., and even more so in works as large as these, since the canvas measures 231 x 215 cm.

The realism that Herrera “El Viejo” embodies is not grandiloquent at all, but instead seeks very plausible and natural representations, paying special attention to the investigation of the aspects psychological.

In this case the assignment consisted of painting different images illustrating the life of Saint Bonaventure, but in the end he only painted four of those paintings, and ended up being replaced in his task by Franscico de Zurbarán, who made the rest of the hagiography of the saint with four other works, including the Exhibition of the body of Saint Bonaventure.

Possibly the commission was withdrawn as he was an artist with an excessively free style, and possibly the monks of the convent wanted something a little more formal. Of the four paintings he made, only three have survived to this day. This one from Prado and two owned by Louvre de Paris, while the fourth was lost during World War II.

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