Juan Sanchez Cotan
Juan Sanchez Cotan, considered a central pioneer of Baroque Spanish Realism, created dark still lifes that united deep feelings of humility and spirituality. His works displayed immeasurable volume, depth, and a mystical illusion of reality through shadow and light. Many of his still lifes depict simple fruits and vegetables, some of which hang on strings while others sit on window ledges. Cotan was profoundly religious, influenced by Catholic mysticism that dominated intellectual life. He had a workshop for half of his life where he produced art until he renounced the world and became a monk, entering a monastery as a lay brother. His influence remained strong, despite his retreat from the world. He ended his days universally loved and regarded as a saint.