Francisco de Zurbarán (1598 - 1664)
Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), of Basque origin, was a Spanish painter, relatively unknown, best known primarily for his religious paintings depicting monks, nuns, and martyrs, and for his still-lifes and, for a few years, court portraits in Madrid. Zurbarán gained the nickname Spanish Caravaggio, owing to the forcible, realistic use of chiaroscuro in which he excelled. It is unknown whether Zurbarán had the opportunity to copy the paintings of Michelangelo da Caravaggio. He worked in oils and was clearly, at some point, acquainted with the works of Michelangelo.
Zurbarán was born in the suburb of Fuente de Cantos in Extremadura, on the boundaries of Andalusia, November 7, 1598. He was son of Luis Zurbarán, a haberdasher, and Isabel Márquez. In childhood he set about imitating objects with charcoal. In 1614 his father sent him to Seville to apprentice for three years with Pedro Díaz de Villanueva, an artist of whom very little is known. While in Seville, Zurbarán married Leonor de Jordera, by whom he had several children. In order to support himself he had to become an art dealer, though he was not successful in business either.