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Sept/Oct 15, 2008

Acislo Antonio Palomino de Castro y Velasco’s Immaculate Conception

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Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2008;10(5):364-365. doi:10.1001/archfaci.10.5.364

Acislo Antonio Palomino de Castro y Velasco (1655-1726) was one of the most successful and learned artists of the late Golden Age in Spain. Raised in Cordoba, Palomino originally studied theology and even took minor religious orders before beginning his career as a religious painter. According to his own account, Palomino met fellow Cordoban painter Juan Valdés Leal, who encouraged him to pursue his artistic career and oversaw his training. Palomino completed his artistic education in Madrid and eventually became one of the leading frescoists working in various religious institutions there. However, he is perhaps best known today as a scholar and theorist; his treatise, El museo pictórico y escala ópticaoffers a defense of painting as a noble and liberal art. The third volume of the treatise Lives of the Eminent Painters and Sculptorsis the most famous and most valuable to scholars of Spanish art. This volume contains biographical sketches of prominent Spanish painters and sculptors, many of whom Palomino was personally acquainted with, and in many cases, Palomino's biography is the only account of certain artists' activities. Conversely, his detailed biographies of well-known artists like Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez provide important insights into their artistic activities. Following the death of his wife in 1725, Palomino resumed his religious vocation and was ordained as a priest shortly before his death in 1726.

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