• MURILLO, Bartolome Esteban

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      • Bartolome Esteban Murillo was the leading painter in Seville after Velazquez left for Madrid in 1623. His earliest works are controversial and may have been influenced by Velazquez's realism, but his name was made by a series of eleven paintings for the Franciscans (16456: some still in Seville, others in Dresden, Madrid (Acad.), Ottawa, Paris, Raleigh NC and Toulouse), in which Zurbaran and Ribera were plainly influential. Murillo's fame eclipsed Zurbaran's (he was actually later to receive ten times Zurbaran's prices): as a result Zurbaran tried to compete by softening and sweetening his own style. The main problem in Murillo's stylistic development concerns his knowledge of van Dyck, Rubens, Titian and Barocci, which could hardly have been acquired in Seville, although he certainly used engravings as source material. He is now known to have been in Madrid in 1658, but it is likely that he was there 1648/50 or 1655 (or on both occasions) when he could have studied all these masters in the Royal collections. In 1660 he was one of the founders, and the first President, of the Seville Academy. His estilo vaporoso dates from the 1660s, succeeding the estilo frio, cool and detached, of his early works, and the warm estilo calido of such devotional works as the Madonna del Rosano (Madrid, Prado). He does not seem to have employed many assistants, but his very large output of Madonnas, versions of the Immaculate Conception (Pacheco), and genre scenes was very widely copied and imitated well into the 19th century, often as a style rather than as deliberate forgeries. His later Beggar Boys (the best are in London (Dulwich), Munich and Paris) exploit the sentimental side of his art, and he found a ready market for these glamorized, picturesque urchins in fancy-dress rags, exuding the charms ofBohemianism and serving to exorcize poverty by robbing it of its power to inspire pity and horror. He was, however, an excellent portrait painter. Among the most important series of works are twenty-odd for the Capuchins (1665-6 and 1668 onwards: mostly still in Seville, one in Cologne), a series of six for the Hospital de la Caridad (completed 1670), a charitable foundation, where Murillo had been a member since 1665 (some still there, others in London (NG), Ottawa, St Petersburg and Washington (NG)). In 1679 he painted two pictures for the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes (Madrid (Prado) and Budapest). In 1681 he went to Cadiz, but fell from the scaffolding while working on his Mystic Marriage of St Catherine. He returned to Seville and died in the following year.

        Apart from the galleries mentioned, there are works in Amsterdam, Baltimore, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham (City, Barber Inst.), Bordeaux, Boston, Brussels, Cambridge (Fitzwm), Cambridge Mass. (Fogg), Castres, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland Ohio, Dallas Texas, Detroit, Dresden, Dublin, Florence, Genoa, Hartford Conn., Indianapolis, Kansas City, Liverpool, London (NG, Wallace Coll., Wellington Mus.), Minneapolis, New York (Met. Mus., Hispanic Soc.), Notre Dame Indiana, Philadelphia, Rome (Corsini), St Louis, San Diego Cal., Sarasota Fla, Sheffield, Stockholm (The Two Trinities, c.1640, a very early version of the picture in London, NG), the Vatican, Vienna, Williamstown and Worcester Mass.

      • Source: The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists (Penguin Reference Books)

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