Bernardo Lorente Germán
Sevilla, 1680 - Sevilla, 1759
Bernardo Lorente Germán belongs to the generation of artists who followed in Murillo’s wake and succeeded in adapting his style to the aesthetic changes of the 18th century, especially after receiving the direct influence of French painting as a result of the establishment of the court of Philip V and Isabella Farnese in Seville in 1729. He trained under his father, a modest local painter, and later with a little known Cristóbal López (c. 1671–1730), who made a fortune producing devotional images for the American market.
Lorente spent his whole life in Seville, where he engaged chiefly in producing religious works for altarpieces, altar paintings and small devotional works, as well as a few portraits and still-lifes, as two trompe l’oeil paintings of his are preserved in the Louvre. He enjoyed success and a certain amount of recognition, but judging from the surviving records he does not appear to have had a very large workshop or many pupils. Nor did he manage to establish contact with the court, which he did not follow on its return to Madrid. According to Ceán, he was melancholic and reserved and “did not wish to be painter to the king as was proposed to him”, although the artist stated in a letter to José de Hermosilla that the doors were closed to him owing to envy. Nevertheless, around 1730 he painted a portrait of the Infante Philip of Bourbon, the future Duke of Parma, which was very much to the liking of the duke’s mother Queen Isabella Farnese and, like others by him, displayed evident French influence, especially of Ranc.
He worked quickly with a loose technique and a style in which colour was clearly predominant over drawing, with particular emphasis on chromatic contrasts and light. The church was his main client and he painted many pictures of the Divine Shepherdess; he was one of the main disseminators of this iconography devised by Tovar, so much so that Ceán called him “the painter of shepherdesses”. At the end of his life he secured the recognition of the recently established San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts, which made him an academician of merit.
It is known from the inventory compiled after his wife’s death in 1738 that he owned an interesting library comprised of thirty books, among them Pacheco’s El Arte de la Pintura, the Discursos Apologéticos by Juan de Butrón and works on religion, mathematics and perspective, in addition to some six hundred prints, which he most likely used as inspiration and to support his compositions.
Trinidad de Antonio