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Zurbarán’s Series for the New World

Art Talk

By 1640, the great commissions of the art market in Seville were drying up while the colonial American market was beginning to thrive. By mid-century, the Andalusian capital suffered a deep economic depression, impacted by the outbreak of the plague in 1649, greatly reducing the city’s population. At this time, the workshop of Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) began to produce numerous canvases for the colonial market. This lecture will examine Jacob and His Twelve Sons in the context of other series produced by Zurbarán and his workshop. These included sacred themes such as the Founders of Orders, the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Saints, and the Sons of Jacob, along with secular themes such as the Seven Infants of Lara or the Roman Caesars that were made to adorn the religious and civic buildings of the New World.