This is one of Francisco de Zurbarán’s few known secular portraits. The subject is Don Juan Bazo de Moreda, a successful infantry captain and sergeant major in the formidable Spanish regiment called the “Tercios.” He is depicted life-size against a spare background and shown in military dress, with one hand resting on a ceremonial staff used to guide soldiers in battle. The dramatic lighting illuminates his face and emphasizes the strength with which he grasps the staff. The lengthy inscription in the corner is written in the past tense, suggesting the portrait was made posthumously. Zurbaran probably did not know the sitter personally; the family would have provided him with an image such as a portrait miniature from which to work. This celebratory painting would have served as a memento of and testimony to the military glory of a man who earned a knighthood for his extraordinary service to the Spanish crown.


From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist Francisco de Zurbarán, Spanish, 1598-1664
Title
  • Don Juan Bazo de Moreda
Date ca. 1655
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 78 5/8 × 40 1/4 inches (199.7 × 102.2 cm)
Framed: 88 7/8 × 51 1/4 × 3 5/8 inches (225.7 × 130.2 × 9.2 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, Jill Ford Murray Fund, and Joseph M. de Grimme Memorial Fund
Accession Number 2015.13
Department European Painting
On View European: Medieval and Renaissance W220, Level 2 (see map)
Inscriptions Inscribed, lower left: DON IV BAZO DE MOREDA D(E)L | ABITO D(E) SANTIAGO NATVRAL | I REGIDOR PERPETVO QVE FVE D(E) LA | CIVD(A)D DE LOGROÑO, CAPITÁN DE INFĀ | TERÍA ESPAÑOLA EN LOS ESTAD(O)S D(E) FLAND | (E)S, SARGENTO MAYOR D(E)L TERCIO VIE(JO) | I GOBERNAD(O)R D(E)L MISMO TERCIO. GOBERNA | DOR DE VD(O)NARDA. MVRIÓ GOBERNA | DE DEXISMVNDA EN DICHOS ESTA | DOS. DE EDAD DE 38 AÑOS. 1654 | AN 1654
[translated from Spanish: Don Juan Bazo de Moreda of the Order of St. James who hailed from the city of Logroño, where he was a councilman for life, an infantry capitan in Flanders, a sergeant major in the old regiment and head of the same regiment. Governor of Oudenaarde. He died as a governor of Diksmunde in those lands. Aged 38. 1654]
private collection (Barcelona, Spain).
private collection (Spain).
(Coll & Cortés Ltd. Fine Arts, London, United Kingdom);
2015-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Zurbarán: A New Perspective. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, 2015, pp. 114-115, no. 27.

Coll & Cortés. Spanish Painting. London and Spain, 2012, pp. 140–145.

Bulletin of the DIA: Notable Acquisitions, 2000–2015 89, no. 1/4 (2015), p. 94 (ill.).