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Murillo: Tender and Divine


《The Young Beggar》

The Young Beggar was painted by one of the most popular painters of the Spanish Baroque period, Murillo, between about 1645 and 1650, measures 134 x 300 cm. It was once kept in the royal collection of Louis XVI. The little beggar in the painting is wearing patched clothes, has no shoes, and long walks thickly dust the soles of his feet. His food: apples and shrimp, were thrown on the ground randomly, which was very unclean. This little beggar is scratching the lice on his body.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was born in 1617, the 14th child of his family. His father was both a surgeon and a barber. When Murillo was 10 years old, his parents died, leaving him an orphan. This experience explains that his works are always full of street beggars and other vulnerable subjects, such as women and children. In 1642, at the age of 26, he moved to Madrid, where he was exposed to many of Velázquez's works.

Three years later, he returned to Seville to marry and had eleven children with his wife. In 1655-1660, Murillo painted Two Women at a Window, which is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

《Two women at a window》

The painting uses one window to frame two women. The woman leaning on the window looks young, her eyes are clear and innocent, and she seems to be full of imagination and expectation of the outside world. Her strapless dress shows off her fair skin, and her smoothly tended hair is combed with care in a bun. The two delicate little red hair ornaments in her hair symbolize her vivacity and dynamism. The woman beside her took a turban to cover her face, but you can still see her neatly groomed hair and her smile that she fails to hide. Although Murillo lost his parents at a young age, we can always see in his work his tender heart and his love for the world.

From 1658 to 1660, Murillo became one of the founders of the Academia de Bellas Artes, and in 1660, he shared designs with the architect Francisco Herrera the Younger. He got multiple significant commissions during this time, including the paintings at Santa Mara la Blanca and the altarpieces for the Augustinian monastery. In the second half of his life, he painted more and more religious-themed works. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a religious painting created by Murillo in 1678.

《The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary》

Murillo died in Seville in 1682, at the age of 64. He painted prolifically, had a large number of students and followers, and was better known than any other Spanish artist until the 19th century. He was one of the three great Spanish artists, along with El Greco and Velázquez, only to be replaced by Goya in the 19th century. However, his influence on Spanish and European art cannot be underestimated.

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