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Alfaro y Gómez, Juan

Córdoba, 1643 - Madrid, 1680

Shortly after completing initial training in his native city at Antonio del Castillo Saavedra's workshop, he moved to Madrid, where he entered Diego Velázquez's studio. His work, especially his portraits, was powerfully influenced by Velázquez, and their relation allowed him contact with Venetian and Flemish artists whose work was in the Royal Collections around 1665. While still quite young, he painted a series of works on the life of Saint Francis for that saint's convent, and an Assumption of the Virgin for the convent of the barefoot Carmelite nuns, both in Cordoba.

He painted portraits, miniatures and religious works. Among the first were likenesses of various bishops for the Episcopal Palace in Cordoba, as well as Doña María Josefa Díaz de Morales y Córdoba (1675, private collection, Madrid) and Don Pedro de Arce (location unknown). His religious works include an Assumption of the Virgin from 1668 that passed from the Museo de la Trinidad to the Museo del Prado. He had two patrons: Pedro de Arce, and Juan Gaspar Enríquez de Cabrera, Admiral of Castile. According to Palomino, his disappointment at not being readmitted after the latter returned from exile produced a state of dismay and melancholy that led to his death. Fond of literature, he was a notary for the Inquisition as well as the author of a biography, now lost, of Velázquez, which his disciple, Palomino, read and employed in his own Parnaso español.

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