Pacheco, Francisco

Pacheco, Francisco a noted Spanish painter, was born at Seville in 1571, of a good and influential family. An uncle of his was canon of the cathedral of Seville, and is distinguished as a divine and poet. Afforded all the advantages of culture which his country could command, Pacheco started out in life with unusual fitness for an artistic course. His very earliest works attracted general attention, and in 1598 he was one of the principal painters employed on the great decorations or catafalque of Philip II. In 1600 he was appointed, together with Alonzo Vazquez, to paint a series of large pictures illustrating the life of St. Ramon for the cloister of the convent of the Merced. In 1603 he executed some works in distemper in the palace of Don Fernando Henriquez de Ribera, third duke de Alcala, from the story of Daedalus and Icarus. In 1611 he visited Toledo, Madrid, and the Escurial, and saw the great works of Titian and other celebrated Italian and Spanish masters, and was so forcibly impressed with the varied and incessant application requisite to make one a great painter that on his return to Seville he opened a systematic academy of the arts, as well for his own improvement as for the benefit of the rising artists of Seville. The improvement he himself acquired is shown by his great picture of the Last Judgment. an altar-piece finished in 1614 for the nuns of the convent of St. Isabel, and by himself described at great length in his treatise on painting. In 1618 Pacheco was appointed by the Inquisition one of the guardians of the public morals, i.e. he was made censor of all the pictures which were exposed for sale in Seville; nakedness was prohibited, and it was his business to see that no pictures of the naked human form were sold. It is to such formal morality as this that the Spanish school of painting owes its characteristic ponderous sobriety, and is so directly unlike Italian painting. Prudery was carried so far in Spain that in the time of Ferdinand VII. even all the great Italian works which could be reproached with nudities were removed from the galleries, and were condemned to a distinct set of apartments called the Galeria Reservada, and only opened to view to those who could procure especial orders. In 1623 Pacheco visited Madrid, and among many other works executed was one which hardly accords with the present notions of the occupation of a great painter, though it has been the practice of great artists from very early ages to paint their statues. SEE NICIAS. Pacheco dressed, gilded, and painted (estofo) for the duchess of Olivares a statue, probably of wood, of the Virgin, by Juan Gomez de Mora. What this process exactly was it is not evident from this mere mention; but the object generally in these painted. wooden images appears to have been to obtain an exact imitation in the minutest detail — perpetual facsimiles. The effect of such images, called "Pasos," must be experienced to be comprehended. The Spaniards dress them as well as paint them. Their churches were crowded with such works; but most have now been removed to museums. Mr. Ford gives some curious details about the toilets of these Spanish images. No man is allowed in Spain to undress the "Paso," or "Sa'grada Imagen," of the Virgin; and some images had their mistresses of the robes ("camerera mayor"), and a chamber ("camerin") where their toilet was made. The duty has, however, now devolved upon old maids; and "Ha quedado para vestir imagines" (She has gone to dress images) has become a phrase of reproach. Pacheco died at Seville in 1654. "His works, though not vigorous, are correct in form, effective in light and shade, studied in composition, and simple in attitude; but they have little color, are dry, and rather feeble or timid in their handling. These defects are more apparent when his pictures are seen together with the works of other Andalusian painters, who have generally made coloring their principal study, and have comparatively neglected purity of form. Besides his many religious pictures, he painted or drew in crayons nearly four hundred portraits." He also wrote Arte de Pintura, su Antigiiedad, y Gerandeza (Seville, 1649, 4to), a remarkably scarce book, considered an indispensable guide by the painters of the school of Seville; it is a work of great learning on the subject, and is held throughout Spain to be the best work on painting in the Spanish language: it is in three parts —history, theory, and practice. The Jesuits of Seville were his most intimate associates, and greatly assisted him in writing his work. They were indeed the authors of that part which is devoted to sacred art. His works are seldom seen out of Seville, and he is even very inadequately represented in the splendid gallery of the Prado at Madrid. The altar-piece of the Archangel Michael expelling Satan from Paradise, which was in the church of San Alberto at Seville, was regarded his masterpiece. There are still at Seville an altar-piece of the Conception of San Lorenzo, two pictures of San Fernando in San Clementi, and a picture in San Alberto. See Antonio, Bibliotheca Scriptor. Hispanioe, 3, 456; Ticknor, Hist. Spanish Lit. 3, 19; Spooner, Biog. Dict. of the Fine Arts, s.v.; English Cyclop. s.v.

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