Herrera, named Lope de VEGA's "sun of art" was one of the greatest Baroque painters of Seville. He is considered a pupil of Pacheco. The most fruitful period of his work is located between 1636 and 1648. During these years, was written work, full of expression, a powerful, soothing tones. In the last years of his life, Herrera lived at the court; his work in Madrid, according to documents 1657.
Spanish painter, architect, draftsman, a master of medallic art, he turned to fresco painting. The representative of the Sevillian school. The first teacher of Velazquez. Lived and worked in Seville, 1660 in Madrid. Under the influence of mannerism and Venetian painting (descent of the Holy. Spirit, 1617, Toledo, El Greco Museum; Triumph of St. Hermengild, 1634, Seville, Museum of fine arts), paying tribute to caravaggism, Herrera the Elder has developed in strikingly individual masters, not just of the leading contemporary painters of the Spanish Golden age, but close to them the nature of his art, as if podgotovleno the stage for the pursuit of realism. He has achieved success in a genre interpretation of religious themes in the individual characteristics of images, determines the life of the veracity of the works. In the loop for College of the Franciscans in Seville, dedicated to St. Bonaventure (between 1627 and 1629) belonging to his name 4 songs with dignity side by side with the execution of the late work of Zurbaran. In the picture the Adoption of St. Bonaventura the Franciscan order (1628 Madrid, Prado) the head of specific characters in their portrait almost of expression, those present at the ceremony people United by a common state of inner seriousness, the significance of what is happening, what corresponds to the strict restraint of colors, built on a dark brownish and grey-silver tones.
Monumental and, as a rule, a very large altar paintings Herrera, written in free pasty smear, the effect in the comparison of black and white gradations, bear the imprint of his unbridled temper. In the best of the paintings of the Mature works of SV. Basil dictating his doctrine (1639, Paris, Louvre), the main character and the surrounding saints form a magnificent group, on the background of swirling pink and Golden clouds. In the contours of their strong figures in pointed hats, in terms of harsh living persons, especially St. Basil — the gray-bearded Patriarch with burning black eyes, there's something menacing, solemn, inexorable. For shaped characteristic, the plasticity of forms and the sonorous, rich shades painting is a work of Herrera's Older than many of the religious compositions of his younger contemporaries, later much more famous. Not coincidentally, a man of a hard and quarrelsome nature, he enjoyed great fame and was praised by Lope de VEGA as "the sun of Seville."
In the few genre paintings — among them the full dignity of Blind ilasik (CA. 1640, Vienna Museum of art history) — for the first time there has been a characteristic of Spanish genre features: the absence of active actions, detailed plot, elements of didactics and of narrative intimacy to the portrait, who served as national types.
About the stay of Herrera the Elder in Madrid are little known. His last years were apparently years of personal solitude, he left the family, left the disciples, among them, endowed with bright decorative gift son, Francisco Herrera the Younger.