Francisco Rizi

Dates1614 - 1685

Baroque artist Francisco Rizi helped to introduce the flamboyance of Flemish and Venetian art into Spanish painting. A hundred years later, critics deplored his "corrupting taste," due to his frequent depictions of nudes and his penchant for integrating diverse styles.

Rizi was probably first trained by his father, an Italian painter who settled in Spain, but he also likely studied with Vicente Carducho, from whom he acquired a precision of composition and love of drawing. Prolific and versatile, Rizi spent his early years decorating secular and religious buildings, making easel paintings, and designing street and theater decorations.

In 1656 Rizi was named painter to the king. He had already begun exchanging Carducho's solemnity for a livelier style influenced by the Flemish painters Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. During the 1660s Rizi decorated numerous Madrid churches. Like many of his contemporaries, he grew increasingly aware of Venetian painting, but he added a richly colored, strongly illusionistic approach to Venetian drama and spectacular compositions. After falling from favor at court and working outside Madrid, Rizi resumed court employment during his last years. An able and popular teacher, he taught many of Spain's best painters of the younger generation.