SANCHEZ COTÁN, Juan
(b. 1561, Orgaz, d. 1627, Granada)
Spanish painter. He was a still-life painter in Toledo until 1603, when he decided to become a monk, and in the following year he entered the Carthusian monastery at Granada as a laybrother. The religious works he painted after this date are unexceptional, but as a still-life painter he ranks with the great names of European painting. Characteristically he depicts a few simple fruits or vegetables, arranged on a ledge or shelf with an almost geometric clarity and standing out against a dark background (Quince, Cabbage, Melon, Cucumber, San Diego Museum of Art, 1602). Each form is scrutinized with such intensity that the pictures take on a mystical quality, conveying a feeling of wonder and humility in front of the humblest items in God's creation. Sánchez Cotán's austere style had considerable influence on Spanish painting, notably on Zurbarán.