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Cano, Alonso

Granada, 1601 - Granada, 1667

Alonso Cano is unique among 17th-century Spanish artists as he was mainly a draftsman and designer, but was equally successful as an architect, sculptor and painter.
His earliest experience with the arts probably took place in his own home, as his father designed and carved altarpieces and choir stalls. The family moved to Seville, where Alonso entered Francisco Pacheco’s studio at the age of fifteen. There, he coincided with Velázquez for several months.
As a child, he demonstrated a fascination with the beauty of the human form, handling foreshortening and the representation of movement with ease. In 1638 he visited the court at the invitation of Philip IV’s prime minister, the Count-Duke of Olivares, who favored artists from his native Seville. Once in Madrid, Cano took part in the decoration of the Buen Retiro Palace and the Alcázar. His work in Madrid shows that he studied the royal collections and it also reveals his familiarity with the work of court painters. Cano was forced to abandon Madrid and move to Valencia for several months in 1644 following his wife’s murder. After he was accused of the crime, he managed to prove his innocence despite having been tortured in the process. After returning to Madrid, he worked on decorations for the celebration of Philip IV’s wedding to Marie Anne of Austria. In those years, Cano’s art evolved from the heavy, monumental compositions he had learned in Seville towards more elegant, dynamic and baroque forms. He also began to employ more transparent colors and lighter tonalities. His life took another turn in 1651 when he returned to his native Granada with the intention of taking the cloth and obtaining a post as canon at the cathedral. While awaiting that post (which he obtained in 1652), he worked on numerous projects for the cathedral, as well as for other churches, monasteries and convents in that city—especially those belonging to both the male and female branches of the Franciscan order. In 1660, following stays in Madrid and Salamanca, where he was ordained, he returned to Granada Cathedral as a canon and completed his series of paintings on the life of the Virgin for that temple. A few months before his death he received the title of Master Builder at the cathedral and designed its façade, which was built posthumously (Pérez d'Ors, P. in: Del Greco a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado, Museo de Arte de Ponce, 2012, p. 88).

His portrait by Ramón Barba at the Museo del Prado bears the number E00853.

Artworks (58)

Christ Crucified
Oil on canvas, XVII century
Cano, Alonso (Attributed to)
Saint Anthony of Padua
Oil on canvas, XVII century
Cano, Alonso
The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa
Oil on canvas, 1629
Cano, Alonso
The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila
Oil on canvas, 1629
Cano, Alonso
The Crucifixion
Oil on canvas, 1635 - 1665
Cano, Alonso
A king of Spain
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1640
Cano, Alonso
Two Kings of Spain
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1641
Cano, Alonso
The Miracle of the Well
Oil on canvas, 1638 - 1640
Cano, Alonso
Saint Bernard and the Virgin
Oil on canvas, 1645 - 1652
Cano, Alonso

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