Francisco de Zurbarán was born in 1598 in Fuentedecantos, a village in the region of Extremadura. After his apprenticeship in Seville, which lasted from 1616 to 1619, he settled in Llerena, a market town in Extremadura. In 1626 he received a commission from the Dominicans of San Pablo, Seville, and began to establish his reputation in the metropolis, to which he moved in 1630. During the next ten years, he became the leading painter of Andalusia and received many important commissions. He also established a workshop that provided pictures to clients in southern Spain and the New World.
During the 1640s, as his work for monastic clients diminished, Zurbarán and his shop increasingly produced pictures for the Indies trade, which had a great impact on the development of painting in the Spanish colonies.
Zurbarán's popularity began to wane in the mid-1650s, as the newer styles of Murillo and Francisco de Herrera the Younger gained favor with Sevillian clients. The artist moved to Madrid in 1658, where he died in 1664 in relatively reduced circumstances.
[Brown, Jonathan, and Richard G. Mann. Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1990: 134.]
Soria, Martin S. The Paintings of Zurbarán. London, 1953.
Guinard, Paul. Zurbarán et les peintres espagnols de la vie monastique. Paris, 1960.
Brown, Jonathan. Francisco de Zurbarán. New York, 1974.
Baticle, Jeannine. Zurbarán. Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Grand Palais, Paris. New York, 1987.
Brown, Jonathan, and Richard G. Mann. Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1990: 134.