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

St Joseph and the Christ Child

Oil on canvas, 116 x 112 cm
Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid

In the 1640s Herrera's production went into a decline, although he is known to have received the occasional commission from a religious order. St Joseph and the Christ Child, done for the monastery of San José (Mercedarios Descalzos) in Seville in 1645, illustrates how the new devotional spirit was affecting Seville's monastic communities. Herrera made the necessary modifications to accommodate the new taste for quiet, sentimental art, but at the cost of the original rough-hewn realism that made him a distinctive painter.

An earlier variant of the composition, signed and dated 1645, is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.