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Alonso Cano

  • Alonso Cano © P. Rotger/Iberfoto

    Alonso Cano © P. Rotger/Iberfoto






Date of birth

Mar 19, 1601

Date of death


"Painter, sketcher, maker of altarpieces, sculptor and architect. He was a very many-sided artist and a central figure in Spain’s Golden Age."

Alonso Cano de Almansa was born in Granada in 1601, the son of the Manchegan maker of altarpieces, Miguel Canoso Pacheco. He knew other artists, such as Martínez Montañés, Velázquez, who was a pupil at the same time in Francisco Pacheco’s workshop, and Zurbarán, as well as being acquainted with important intellectuals. His library held works by Góngora, Gracián and Quevedo, and the knowledge they afforded helped his art to flower. His artistic style was passed on to his highly talented pupils, such as Pedro de Mena, José Risueño, Herrera Barnuevo and José de Mora. He was influenced by Italian Mannerism and the Baroque. His drawings are outstanding for their perfection, making him perhaps the greatest sketcher of his age. He died in Granada in 1667.

Essential works

  • Saint Jerome penitent in the desert. Granada Museum of Fine Arts © Ministerio de Cultura

    Saint Jerome penitent in the desert

    This important canvass, which must have been painted in Alonso Cano’s last period in Granada, was copied by some of his followers.

    Granada Museum of Fine Arts (Granada)

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  • Virgin of the Star. Granada Museum of Fine Arts © Ministerio de Cultura

    Virgen del Lucero

    Cano makes much use of the image of the Virgin seated with Child. It first appears during his Madrid period, and from 1640 appears in his best work.

    Granada Museum of Fine Arts (Granada)

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  • ‘The Miracle of the Well’ © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

    The Miracle of the Well

    The fast brushstrokes and use of a rich range of colours stand out. It was painted for the high altar in the Church of Santa María de la Almudena in Madrid.

    Prado Museum (Madrid)

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  • Virgin of the Milk © Ministerio de Cultura

    Virgin of La Leche

    This is one of the most widely-known paintings by Alonso Cano, and the best known work in the Guadalajara Museum.

    Guadalajara Museum (Guadalajara)

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Other highlighted works

  • San Francisco de Borja
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