Museums and Art

“Madonna Immaculata”, Bartolome Esteban Murillo - description of the painting

“Madonna Immaculata”, Bartolome Esteban Murillo - description of the painting

Madonna Immaculata - Bartolome Esteban Murillo. 144 x 206 cm

Murillo was born in Seville in 1618. Little is known of his early life, except that his parents died early, and he went to live with the artist Juan del Castillo (1590-1657), who became his teacher. Castillo's works are executed with naturalism, which appeared from the Venetian influences on his work. In the first paintings of Murillo, the influence of Castillo and Zurbaran is felt. When he finished his studies, he did not choose the traditional way of entering the craft workshop, but chose to remain independent. There is a version that he sold his miniatures, made on rough canvas, at fairs.

His work must have attracted attention because he soon received an order for a series of 11 religious paintings from the Franciscan monastery in Seville. The successful completion of these works and created Murillo's initial reputation as an artist. It is difficult to arrange the painter's works in chronological order, since he rarely dated them, but it is believed that a series of these paintings dates from around 1646. Next up was a couple of paintings for the Cathedral of Seville, which strengthened the author's reputation. Murillo began to specialize in two topics: the Virgin and Child and the Immaculate Conception.

The Madonna of Immaculata was written around 1660-1665. A picture full of trepidation and religious awe was created for the hospital de los venerables saserdotes in Seville. The work is done with thin, barely noticeable strokes, which gives special tenderness, sophistication, and fragility to the image. The soft light that forms a warm halo around the Madonna, and a deep palette of colors create a relief, revitalizing the canvas.

The Virgin is portrayed as a very young girl. She has delicate features, her face still has childhood swelling. The white outfit that covers everything except the head and feet symbolizes the modesty and innocence of the girl. The position of the hands speaks of submission, faith, acceptance of one’s fate. Her figure, located in the center of the canvas, is framed by angels.

The composition corresponds to the Spanish canons of religious painting of that time. But the author brings his vision, his own religious feeling. Murillo's style is softer, more tender, more sentimental than that of contemporaries who wrote on the same topic. The picture leaves bright, pleasant emotions.


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