Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
MURILLO, BARTOLOMÉ ESTEBAN
Painter of the "golden age" of Spanish baroque; b. Seville, 1617 (baptized Jan. 1, 1618); d. Seville, April 3,1682. He was a devout man who for a time aspired to the priesthood; his daughter became a Dominican and his son a Franciscan. Orphaned at an early age, he earned a livelihood by painting cheap religious pictures until he studied (1642–45) at the royal galleries in Madrid under Velázquez, from whom he learned a great deal. Murillo then became the favorite artist of Seville's aristocratic class and the universally popular interpreter of the Immaculate Conception. His first effort on this theme resembles the earlier Ribera in grandiosity; such works, at Aranjuez and the Prado (Madrid), adumbrate the rococo. Among Murillo's other renowned works are The Angels' Kitchen, St. Elizabeth Healing the Sick, St. Francis with the Crucified Christ, and the Vision of St. Anthony. His religious work is distinctively baroque in its brilliant coloring and preference for beauty that tends toward intimacy and prettiness, and away from classical perfection and the spiritual realities (the estilo vaporoso ). This same spirit marks his paintings of childhood, such as Children with a Shell and Little St. John, and his secular subjects are unique in Spanish painting as clearly foretelling the spontaneity of composition, lightness of movement, and decorativeness of the eighteenth century. The best of these is the charming
genre piece, The Women at the Window or The Duenna.
Bibliography: g. c. williamson, Murillo (London 1902). a. f. calvert, Murillo (London 1908). a. muÑoz, ed., Murillo (Leipzig 1943). a. l. mayer, Murillo (Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 22; 2d ed. Stuttgart 1923); u. thieme and f. becker, eds., Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart (Leipzig 1907–38) 25: 285–287. g. kubler and m. soria, Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and Their American Dominions, 1500 to 1800 (Pelican History of Art, ed. n. pevsner (Baltimore 1953–) Z17; 1959). o. f. l. hagen, Patterns and Principles of Spanish Art (Madison 1943). g. jedlicka, Spanish Painting, tr. j. m. brown john (New York 1964).
[r. j. verostko]