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Pacheco, Francisco

Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Spain), 1564 - Sevilla (Spain), 1644

While this Spanish painter and theorist's painting was never outstanding, his theories reveal the richness of that medium and the singularity of the personnages he had the opportunity to meet, reflecting the interests of his entire period's reflections on art. Pacheco studied with the otherwise unknown teacher Luis Fernández between 1580 and 1585, following mannerist trends from Italy and Flanders that reigned in Seville throughout the final third of the 16th century. As a protege of his uncle, a canon and an outstanding figure in Seville's cultural circles, he undoubtedly received a first-rate humanist education. This allowed him to stand out among his fellow painters and to maintain cultural interests that he expressed through his poetry, and in his "Art of Painting", published posthumously in 1649. Along with Vicente Carducho's "Dialogues on Painting" (1633), that work constituted the most important theoretical codification of 17th-century Spanish treatises, reviewing the earlier cultural tradition of appreciating painting as a liberal art and emphasizing the painter's need for intellectual training. For Pacheco, the main basis for painting should be drawing. He thus begins by reflecting Florentine theories, and he continues with an exploration of the doctrinal and iconographic aspects sanctioned by the Council of Trent. His dry and smooth painting was almost always based on Flemish prints of the sort that were arriving in Seville by the thousands at that time. After his trip to Madrid, El Escorial and Toledo in 1611, it became somewhat softer as his knowledge of the royal collections and the painting of El Greco allowed him to improve his use of color and his modeling. This made him a leading artist in Seville until shortly before 1630, when his work declined significantly in the presence of new artists with which he was unable to compete. These new leaders of painting in Seville, especially Zurbarán and Herrera the Elder, belonged to a younger generation and their new pictorial approach was more attractive than Pacheco's. Nonetheless, he should be appreciated for another very important reason: his contributions as the teacher of some of Spain's best known artists: Alonso Cano and Velazquez. He had a singular relationship with the latter, as he quickly perceived the young artist's exceptional genius and helped him focus on the highest goals. The four oils on panel at the Museo del Prado were part of the altarpiece of Francisca de León, commissioned in 1605 for the church of the convent of el Santo Ángel in Seville. They entered the Museo del Prado in 1829 as a donation from dean López Cepedo, who had acquired them in 1804 (García López. D. in Enciclopedia, 2006, vol. V, pp. 1652-1653).

Artworks (5)

Saint John the Evangelist
Oil on panel, Ca. 1608
Pacheco, Francisco
Saint John the Baptist
Oil on panel, Ca. 1608
Pacheco, Francisco
Santa Catalina
Oil on panel, Ca. 1608
Pacheco, Francisco
Santa Inés
Oil on panel, 1608
Pacheco, Francisco
El Juicio Final
Wash on dark yellow laid paper, 1610 - 1614
Pacheco, Francisco

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