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Artists Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Spanish Painter

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo Photo
Movement: The Baroque

Born: c. December 31, 1617 - Seville, Spain

Died: April 3, 1682 - Seville, Spain

"Murillo was favored by Heaven not only in the eminence of his ability but also in his natural endowments; he had a good figure and an amiable disposition and was humble and modest so that he did not disdain to accept correction from anyone."

Synopsis

In Baroque Spain, artists were more than painters or sculptors, in the eyes of the faithful, they had the power to make the sacred real; and in Seville, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was known as the greatest religious painter of his age. He developed a lush, illusionistic, yet accessible style that combined his grasp of the sensual world with religious conviction and respect for narrative clarity. So, whether his subject was sacred or secular, he painted convincing human beings with recognizable emotions. Murillo's pictures of street children captured their raw energy and brio, while his religious paintings held a mirror up to people and encouraged them to recognise their best qualities, so that they might strive for them in daily life. Like any good artist, he was a storyteller, and like any good storyteller, he painted to show, not tell. His elegant images of the Immaculate Conception, and his reinterpretations of the Virgin, Christ, and saints as beautiful children, blended realism and otherworldliness to immensely popular effect. Even into the 19th century, his paintings of children remained highly prized by English and French collectors, and inspired works by Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Jean-Baptiste Greuze.

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