Juan Fernandez Navarrete - Encyclopedia




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JUAN FERNANDEZ NAVARRETE (1526-1579), surnamed El Mudo (The Mute), Spanish painter of the Madrid school, was born at Logrono in 1526. An illness in infancy deprived him of his hearing, but at a very early age he began to express his wants by sketching objects with a piece of charcoal. He received his first instructions in art from Fray Vicente de Santo Domingo, a Hieronymite monk at Estella, and afterwards he visited Naples, Rome, Florence and Milan. According to the ordinary account he was for a considerable time the pupil of Titian at Venice. In 1568 Philip II. summoned him to Madrid with the title of king's painter and a salary, and employed him to execute pictures for the Escorial. The most celebrated of the works he there produced are a "Nativity" (in which, as in the well-known work on the same subject by Correggio, the light emanates from the infant Saviour), a "Baptism of Christ" (now in the Madrid Picture Gallery), and "Abraham Receiving the Three Angels" (one of his last performances, dated 1576). He executed many other altarpieces, all characterized by boldness and freedom in design, and by the rich warm colouring which has acquired for him the surname of "the Spanish Titian." He died at Toledo in February 1579.

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