Bartolomé Esteban-Murillo on Show at the Wallace Collection, London

by FrancesSpiegel

Free exhibition of 17th-Century Spanish Art by Bartolomé Esteban-Murillo, members of his workshop and his contemporaries.

London's Wallace Collection presents a free exhibition of outstanding masterpieces by the Spanish 17th-Century Baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban-Murillo (1617-1682). The exhibition is entitled Murillo at the Wallace Collection: Painting for the Spanish Golden Age.

The Wallace Collection includes several religious paintings by Bartolomé Esteban-Murillo. These works were part of the original collection of the 4th Marquess of Hertford, founder of the art gallery. The pieces are being displayed alongside works created by Murillo's workshops and followers.

Murillo's Popularity in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Although Murillo's work was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, he was not so popular in later years. Critics thought his work too sentimental and only useful as chocolate box decoration. However, thanks to new research, he is now regarded as one of the finest 17th-century Spanish painters.

Bartolomé Esteban-Murillo – About the artist

Born in Seville in December 1617, Murillo was baptised Juan Bartolomé Esteban-Murillo. After training in the school of Juan del Castillo, Murillo painted scenes of everyday life and devotional paintings. He is probably best known for his depictions of the Virgin and Child and the Immaculate Conception. Many of his paintings were commisioned by religious organisations such as the Hospital de la Caridad and Seville Cathedral. In 1682 Murillo was injured while painting the Marriage of Saint Catherine for the Capuchin Church in Cádiz. He died from his injuries on 3rd April 1682.

Highlights of the Exhibition

The Charity of Saint Thomas of Villanueva

One of the most important works featured in the display is The Charity of Saint Thomas of Villanueva (c.1610). Saint Thomas, an Augustinian friar, was appointed Archbishop of Valencia in 1544, and canonised in 1658. Thomas is shown helping the poor. Murillo endows him with a devine grace in contrast to the beggar's poverty. The painting demonstrates the artist's attention to fine detail – look particularly at the beggar's dirty feet.

The Charity of Saint Thomas of Villanueva

Bartolomé-Esteban Murillo, c. 1670 © the Wallace Collection
The Charity of Saint Thomas of Villanueva
The Charity of Saint Thomas of Villan...

Murillo's Paintings Travel Beyond Spain

Murillo had many good friends and patrons. One in particular, Giovanni Bielato, left a number of Murillo's works to the Genoese Capuchin church. Three of these were eventually acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford. One other painting from Bielato's collection, Rest on the Flight into Egypt, stayed in the UK in the collection of Wrotham Park. The four paintings have been re-united in this exhibition.

Rest on the Flight Into Egypt

Bartolomé-Esteban Murillo, Credit- photography Mark Sims. The image is from Wrotham Park
Rest on the Flight Into Egypt
Rest on the Flight Into Egypt

The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist

In The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist (c.1670) Christ is holding a scroll on which he is portrayed as 'The Lamb of God', a symbol of gentleness and innocence. The lamb depicted on the right-hand side of the painting foretells the Passion of Christ and the Martyrdom of Saint John. The Holy Family was originally located in Seville Cathedral but was removed in 1810 by French statesman Marshal Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult.

The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist, c.1670

Bartolomé-Esteban Murillo, By kind permission of the trustees of the Wallace Collection
The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist
The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist

Free Entry to Murillo at the Wallace Collection

Murillo at the Wallace Collection: Painting for the Spanish Golden Age is a free exhibition, open until 12th May 2013. The exhibition is supported by a comprehensive programme of interesting events. Further details can be found atThe Wallace Collection.



The display runs concurrently with Murillo at Dulwich Picture Gallery on show until 19th May 2013.



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Updated: 02/28/2013, FrancesSpiegel
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