Conversations with Francisco de Zurbaran - Cadiz, 2019

My project in Cadiz has focused on developing an imaginary friendship with the Spanish Baroque artist Francisco de Zurbaran. It has been a one-way friendship, of course, since he lived from 1598 to 1664, producing dramatic and solemn religious paintings.

I chose to study him because of his beautiful use of chiaroscuro, his masterly portrayal of drapery and his sensitive painting of human hands. Also the Museum of Cadiz has an excellent collection of 18 of his works.

Although I have been a very admiring and respectful friend I have also been a bit ruthless. In the irreverent spirit of 21st century contemporary art I have searched out his work on the internet, photocopied it, enlarged it, cropped it, turned it into black and white, laid it on the furniture and on the floor and wrapped my body around it. The one-way friendship has been very intuitive and ended up containing some intimacy and as well as imagined conversations. I have incorporated other props as well which I have found in tourist shops or in the apartment.

In general, interacting with his imagery has made me think about the continuity of human experience, of our shared humanity, and how the flesh of my hands is not so different from the flesh of the hands he painted 400 years ago.

Andrea Gardner

Cadiz 2019

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© 2015 Andrea Gardner