Fundación Focus
<em>Velázquez Centre</em>

Velázquez Centre

Focus Foundation

Francisco Varela

(Seville, c. 1580 – 1645)


Portrait of Juan Martínez Montañés, 1616

Oil on canvas

63 x 55.5 cm.

Seville City Council

Portrait of Juan Martínez Montañés, 1616

The sculptor Juan Martínez Montañés was a great friend of Francisco Pacheco, who collaborated with him by supplying the colour in many of his works, and his sculpture and classical focus had an enormous impact on the young Velázquez. The painter of this piece, Francisco Varela, also worked in the city in the same field as Velázquez’s father-in-law and teacher, developing a precise drawing style and distinct forms that can be regarded as the precedent for the type of naturalism developed by Francisco de Zurbarán. This painting, dated 1616, is also a perfect example of the Seville style of portraiture, undoubtedly showing that the subject was a key figure in Pacheco’s circle, as well as a leading member of the comitentes sevillanos of his time. Dressed in black, with the only white touch being that of his ruff collar, the sculptor is immortalised as he creates the clay mould for one of his masterpieces – the San Jerónimo of the Monastery of San Isidoro del Monte en Santiponce – looking directly at the viewer with a gesture that underscores the intellectual process of a sculptor’s work.

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