- Reference number
- Zurbarán, Francisco de (Spanish)
- Saint Luke as a painter, before Christ on the Cross
- 105 cm x 84 cm
- On display
- Infante D. Sebastián Gabriel, 1876; después, su hijo Alfonso de Borbón Braganza; pasó a su sobrina, casada con Cristóbal Colón, duque de Veragua, Madrid, 1936; adquirido para el Museo del Prado con fondos del legado del conde de Cartagena, 1936.
A painter devoutly contemplates the almost-sculptural figure of Christ on the Cross, which stands out against the dark background. It is Saint Luke, who was not only an evangelist, but also a doctor and artist. This biblical reference may actually hide a more general allusion to the value of painting as the art that is most useful as an instrument of religious devotion. It has also been pointed out that this may be a self-portrait —more allegorical than literal— by Zurbarán.
Christ appears nailed to the Cross with four nails, a formula first presented by Dürer that became very common among painters working in Seville during the seventeenth century, such as Pacheco, Velasquez and Alonso Cano.
This work belonged to the Infante Sebastián Gabriel (1811-1875), and later to his son, Alfonso de Bourbon y Braganza. It was acquired by the Prado Museum in 1936 with funds from the Legacy of the Count of Cartagena.