HERRERA, Francisco de, the Elder
(b. ca. 1590, Sevilla, d. 1656, Madrid)


Francisco Herrera the Elder (c.1590-1656), Spanish painter and engraver, a representative of the transition from Mannerism to Baroque. With his older contemporary Roelas, under whose influence he developed, he helped to prepare the way for the new naturalistic style of the School of Seville in the early 17th century. St Basil Dictating his Rule (Louvre, Paris), which is generally considered his masterpiece, shows his work at its most bold and vigorous. About 1638 Herrera moved to Madrid, where he died. According to Palomino, Diego Velázquez was Herrera's pupil, but if this was so it could only have been for a short time.

His son, Francisco Herrera the Younger (1627-85), painter and architect, spent many years in Italy, where he is said to have fled from his father's notoriously bad temper and may have studied architecture and fresco painting in Rome. He returned to Spain after his father's death and was appointed Murillo's deputy at the Academy of Seville when it was founded in 1660. Soon afterwards he moved to Madrid, where he was appointed Painter to the King (Charles II) in 1672 and Master of the Royal Works in 1677. His greatest achievement was the design (subsequently modified) of the church of El Pilar at Saragossa, begun in 1681. His work as a painter, airy and colourful, owed much to the example of Murillo.

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