Zurburan’s St. Luke as a Painter (1660)

St. Luke was the patron saint of painters based on a legend that he had drawn the Virgin's portrait from life. In this unusual painting, however, Zurburan portrays himself as St. Luke painting "The Crucifixion". The Prado curators seem unaware of this, remarking only that Luke lacks "the religious fervor expected of a saint." Here's why. They think he stands as a saint in front of the Crucifixion and not in front of his own painting. It is a crucial difference. While it is perhaps more correct to state that, as an image in the artist's mind, Zurburan has fused two realities (that of the studio and that of his painting) the meaning is similar: Zurburan has painted The Crucifixion. His hand gesturing towards his own body even indicates this, conveying that what appears to be external is internal. Remember this when you next look at a Crucifixion by a great master: you'll be surprised.

Captions for image(s) above:

Zurburan, St. Luke as a Painter Before Christ on the Cross (1660)

Click image to enlarge.

More Works by Zurburan


Original Publication Date on EPPH: 12 Dec 2010. © Simon Abrahams. Articles on this site are the copyright of Simon Abrahams. To use copyrighted material in print or other media for purposes beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Websites may link to this page without permission (please do) but may not reproduce the material on their own site without crediting Simon Abrahams and EPPH.