St Francis at Prayer 1650-55 Oil on canvas, 158 x 101 cm Private collection: Zurbarán produced devotional works relating to the founder of the Franciscan Order throughout his career, and through their stark simplicity and profound sense of spirituality, they can today be considered amongst the most evocative and iconic sacred images produced within 17th-century Spain. It is unknown whether Zurbarán had the opportunity to see the paintings of Caravaggio, only that his work features a similar use of chiaroscuro and tenebrism (dramatic lighting). In the centre of a chain of mountains covered with oaks and chestnuts which separate Estramadura from Castile, on a peak less sharp than its neighbours, rises the monastery of Guadalupe. Francis Contemplating a Skull’ was created in c.1635 by Francisco de Zurbaran in Baroque style. The pictures of Guadalupe mark the culminating point of Zurbaran's career. Felicity MacKenzie. [17] In Santa Maria de Guadalupe he painted multiple large pictures, eight of which relate to the history of St. Jerome;[3] and in the church of Saint Paul, Seville, a figure of the Crucified Saviour, in grisaille, creating an illusion of marble. It searches us, questioning, like a severe security guard at the airport: why are you travelling today? It was finished in 1636; it is now at the provincial museum of Seville. The cord of Saint Francis, which traditionally held between three and five knots to symbolise the five wounds of Christ, is tied around his waist. The Marquess de Malagan commissioned him to decorate the retable of San Pedro in the Cathedral at Seville; even in this early work the painter brilliantly displays his powerful and very individual manner. He clutches a skull to his chest, reminding the viewer of their mortality and the necessity of immediate conversion. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15770a.htm. The survey should take no longer than ten minutes to complete. In its simplicity and directness, Zurbarán's depiction of St Francis is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the Counter-Reformation, following the Council of Trent (1545-63), which encouraged a new focus on devotional life and re-affirmed the importance of the veneration of images. Francis’ was created in c.1645 by Francisco de Zurbaran in Baroque style. On 17 January, 1626, Zurbarán signed a contract with the prior of the Dominican monastery San Pablo el Real in Seville, agreeing to produce 21 paintings within eight months. Zurbarán produced devotional works relating to the founder of the Franciscan Order throughout his career, and through their stark simplicity and profound sense of spirituality, they can today be considered amongst the most evocative and iconic sacred images produced within 17th-century Spain. It is one of the most bleak and gravest of Zurbarán’s paintings of saints. It was his second to last work on the subject; his last was St Francis Praying in his Cave (private collection). The National Gallery, London, Saint Francis in Meditation Saint Francis kneels on the floor, hands clasped together in ardent prayer, chin tilted upwards to face the divine light radiating from above. 1635-9. Yet despite this, Zurbarán seems to take the emphasis away from Saint Francis himself. It is not what you would expect of a painting of a saint. The museum at Buda-Pesth has an Immaculate Conception painted in 1661, a year before his death. Zurbaran (St. Francis in Meditation, 1639) Canvas Art Print Reproduction Framed with 2.6" wide Black Frame and Gold Edge (28x23.5 in) (71x60 cm), Actual Image Size: (28x23.5 in) (71x60 cm). The Giclee Art Print is individually handmade using sophisticated digital technology. It is said that Alonso Cano and the other painters protested, demanding that Zurbaran should be subjected to a preliminary examination according to custom. After the retable of San Pedro he painted for the convent of the Mercenarious Descalozos, which was then recently built at Seville, five or six of the twelve pictures which recount the life of St. Peter Nolasco, founder of the Order of Mercy. Christ Crowning St. Joseph (Seville), the Portiuncula (Cadiz), the Blessed Virgin and St. John on Calvary (Munich), a St. Francis of Assisi (Dresden), a St. Lawrence (St. Petersburg), an Adoration of the Shepherds (National Gallery), long attributed to Velazquez, but now commonly restored to Zurbaran.