Francisco de Herrera el Mozo (Seville, 1627-Madrid, 1685), son of Francisco de Herrera el Viejo, with whom he trained during his early years in his native city, is one of the most representative artists of the Spanish Baroque period. His great artistic versatility, which he displayed in various fields such as drawing, engraving, oil and fresco painting, scenography, architecture and engineering, leads us to refer to him as a total artist.
During his lifetime he enjoyed enormous fame for the singular and innovative nature of his work, the undoubted quality of which led him to attain the posts of painter to the king and master builder of Royal Works, but also to arouse both the admiration and envy of his contemporaries. However, his strong character, the incomprehension of Enlightenment critics and the fact that some of his work has been preserved in poor condition or has not even survived to the present day - such as his mural painting - have contributed to the scant knowledge of his figure in the present day.
This catalogue and the accompanying exhibition, curated by Benito Navarrete Prieto, aim to fill this gap by presenting the most important of his artistic output to the public. This has been largely restored after a careful process of research, which has culminated in the discovery of data that have contributed to a better understanding of his biography and oeuvre, and in particular of his graphic corpus. Thus, the hypothesis of his stay in Rome has been consolidated, following documentation in the inventories of renowned Roman collectors of several of the still lifes of fish that he painted there and which earned him the nickname of "il Spagnolo de gli pexe" ("the Spagnolo of fish"). The decisive influence of this formative trip is evident in the boldness of his later production, visible in such outstanding paintings as The Triumph of Saint Hermenegild, a masterpiece of the Hispanic Baroque.