27 x 24 cm (height x width). 232 pages. Spanish paperback.
63 catalogue entries. Essays by Odile Delenda, Enrique Valdivieso, José Fernández, Benito Navarrete and Almudena Ros. Entries by Odile Delenda and Almudena Ros.
This catalogue, as well as the exhibition of the same name, offers a survey of the artist’s output through a carefully-chosen selection of works, including several oil paintings recently attributed to the painter, some of them never previously shown in Spain. The publication also includes a selection of still life paintings by the artist and his son Juan, and another with pieces by his workshop collaborators.
The distinguishing traits of Zurbarán’s style already appear in these oil paintings done by commission of different religious orders: sobriety, a simple rendering of themes and figures, severe forms masterfully defined by light, expressive backlighting, excellent draftsmanship, solemn and sedate compositions infused with a restrained spirituality, and an admirable handling of objects – especially textiles, as can be seen in the monks’ white habits.
The 1630s are regarded as the most brilliant decade in Zurbarán’s career on account of the quality and quantity of works he produced, mainly for clients in the city of Seville. During the different cycles of his career Zurbarán produced paintings for religious orders and individual clients, which account for a large portion of his oeuvre.
Around 1650 Zurbarán’s style underwent a major transformation. The sculptural forms and intense light of his early works gave way to an evocative darkness that cloaks his figures and softer brushstrokes that in no way diminish the precision of his images. His works also became smaller, as much of the output of these years was intended for the private devotional use of a noble and aristocratic clientele. However, his late paintings preserve the essential characteristics of his art: the religious sentiment conveyed by his compositions and his ability to capture on canvas the different properties of objects.