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This is Francisco Herrera the Younger

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By Gwylym Owen

Francisco Herrera the Younger (“el Mozo”; 1622 – 25 August 1685) was a Spanish painter and architect.

Born in Seville, he was the second son of Francisco Herrera the Elder (“el Viejo”), and began his career under his father’s instruction; but the father’s violent temper at last became so intolerable that the puberty fled to Rome. For six years the younger Herrera devoted himself to the study of architecture, perspective, and the antique, his dream being fresco painting.

He excelled in still life. He already painted bodegones, fish appropriately cleverly over and done with that the Romans called him lo Spagnuolo dei pesci (“the Spaniard of the Fish”). In 1656 he returned to Seville, founded the Seville Academy, and in 1660 became its sub-director below Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

He is said to have been vain, suspicious, hot-tempered, and jealous; at any rate he resented his subordinate herald and went to Madrid not quite 1661 (Cean Bermúdez). Before leaving behind his original city he painted two large pictures for the cathedral and a “St. Francis” for the chapel of this saint. Edmund Walker Head declares the latter to be his masterpiece.

In Madrid he painted a great Triumph of St. Hermengild for the church of the Carmelite friars, and a action of frescoes in San Felipe el Real which was appreciated by Philip IV of Spain, who commissioned him the painting of the pitch of the chapel of Our Lady of Atocha, and thereafter made him painter to the king and commissioner of royal buildings. Besides his work in still life he painted many portraits, and though these lacked the vigour which characterized his father’s work, they exhibit a greater knowledge and use of chiaroscuro.

Charles II of Spain kept him at his Court and made him master of the royal works. For this king Herrera renovated the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Zaragoza.

Herrera died at Madrid in 1685.

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