NAVARRETE, Juan Fernández de
(b. ca. 1538, Logroño, d. 1579, Toledo)


Spanish painter and draughtsman. He was a deaf mute, and the principal sources for his life and work are writings by Fray José de Sigüenza and Ceán Bermúdez. He received his early training in the Hieronymite monastery of La Estrella in Logroño, and as a young man he travelled in Italy, visiting Milan, Rome, Naples and Venice.

The majority of Navarrete's paintings were commissioned for the royal monastery church of S Lorenzo at the Escorial near Madrid, which was then being built by Philip II. In 1566 he was first mentioned there when he was engaged in repairing paintings in the collection. On 6 March 1568 he was named a court painter at an annual salary of 200 ducats, in addition to which he was to receive payment for commissioned work. Although he was required to live at the Escorial, he obtained royal permission to spend long periods in Madrid and Logroño, where he painted for the monastery. The small panel depicting the Baptism (c. 1568; Madrid, Prado) was the sample piece or 'prueba' that he presented to Philip II. It is painted in clear, vivid colours with meticulous detail, and in both style and technique it is reminiscent of Roman and Flemish Mannerist works. He soon abandoned this style for the Venetian manner of painting, probably in response to the preference of his royal patron for that school, and he practised it so successfully that he came to be known as 'the Spanish Titian'.

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