Visita Los Venerables
<em>Velázquez Centre</em>

Velázquez Centre

Focus Foundation

Francisco Pacheco

(Sanlúcar de Barrameda, 1564 – Seville, 1644)
Artist biography

St Catherine, 1608

Oil on board

97 x 36 cm.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

St Catherine, 1608

This piece by Francisco Pacheco, like its companion piece of Santa Inés, comes from Doña Francisca de León’s altarpiece in the Santo Ángel church in Seville. The two boards were acquired by the Dean, López Cepero in 1804, and then transferred to King Fernando VII’s collection in 1821. Both were leading examples of what has come to be known as divine portraiture and without any doubt served as a basis for the paintings of Velázquez, who trained in Pacheco’s workshop from 1610 to 1616, enabling him to advance from the reformed mannerism of his teacher to a form of painting with naturalist roots, based on the depiction of real models.

The presence of these paintings in the permanent collection held by the Velázquez Centre is also of special interest because the aesthetic comparison between the two works by Pacheco, the Santa Rufina by Velázquez, and the Santa Catalina by Murillo, recreates an outstanding visual universe, based on bringing sacred imagery to life by using specific models who were well-known to each of the artists. Pacheco’s works are perhaps more artificial and further removed from reality, but those of Velázquez and Murillo are very lifelike and strongly characterised.

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