Friday, June 3, 2016

07 Paintings, RELIGIOUS ART - Paintings from the Bible by the Old Masters, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo; the Prodigal Son, with footnotes, 22

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (born late December 1617, baptized January 1, 1618 – April 3, 1682) was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children. His lively, realist portraits of flower girls, street urchins, and beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times. More

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
The Prodigal Son Receives His Rightful Inheritance
27 x 34 cm
Oil on canvas
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the parables of Jesus. It appears in Luke 15:11-32. Jesus shares it with his disciples, the Pharisees and others. In the story, a father has two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance before the father dies, and the father agrees. 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
The parting of the prodigal son, c. 1660
Oil on canvas
27 x 34 cm. 
Madrid, Prado Museum

Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
The dissipation (Feasting) of the Prodigal Son, circa 1660
Oil on Canvas
7 × 34 cm
Prado Museum

Prodigal Son is at a table holding a lady by the shoulders. He is feasting on a banquet. He is the centre of all attention, as a rich young man spending lavishly would naturally be. The painting is in bright colours and in the texture of the rough canvas. Murillo knew as any master the play of light and shadow and its dramatic effects. He used it to create depth in his picture. The music player on the left remains thus in the dark, against the white area of the table linen. This white patch emphasises the rich orange colour of the shirt of the son. The small dog peering from under the table adds an element of genre. More

The younger son, after wasting his fortune (the word "prodigal" means "wastefully extravagant"), goes hungry during a famine, and becomes a destitute

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
The Prodigal Son Driven Out, c. 1660
Oil, canvas
104.5 x 134.5 cm
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
The Prodigal Son Feeding Swine, c. 1660s
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

The son is now praying to God among the swine. He holds one hand to his heart; his other hand is outstretched. The gestures of the man in the two pictures, the ‘Feast’ and the ‘Feeding the Swine’ are the same: left arm bent and right arm stretched. But of course the whole scenery has changed. This ‘Feeding the Swine’ is all gloom and desolation. The sky is heavy and closed from the sun, the barn is in ruins, and the ground is dark and menacing. The man looks at long, thin trees that swing to the skies. Murillo has expressed the loneliness of a person who has been abandoned by everybody and who is entirely throwing his fate to the Lord. More

So destitute he longs to eat the same food given to hogs, unclean animals in Jewish culture. He then returns home with the intention of repenting and begging his father to be made one of his hired servants, expecting his relationship with his father is likely severed. 

Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
Return of the Prodigal Son, (1667-1670)
Oil on canvas
236 x 262 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Murillo selected the essential elements of the story's climax: the penitent son welcomed home by his forgiving father; the rich garments and ring that signify the errant son's restoration to his former position in the family; and the fatted calf being led to the slaughter for the celebratory banquet. The larger-than-life, central, pyramidal grouping of father and son dominates the picture, while the richest color is reserved for the servant bearing the new garments. The Return of the Prodigal Son was one of eight canvases painted for the Church of the Hospital of Saint George in Seville, a hospice for the homeless and hungry.

Regardless, the father finds him on the road and immediately welcomes him back as his son and holds a feast to celebrate his return, which includes killing a fattened calf usually reserved for special occasions. 

Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
The Return Of The Prodigal Son, c. 1660
Oil, canvas
Location: National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

Murillo's model was the life around him; part of the appeal of this canvas lies in its human touches -- the realism of the prodigal's dirty feet, the puppy jumping up to greet his master, and perhaps most of all, the ingenuous smile of the little urchin leading the calf. More

The older son refuses to participate, stating that in all the time he has worked for the father, he never disobeyed him; yet, he did not even receive a goat to celebrate with his friends. The father reminds the older son that the son has always been with him and everything the father has belongs to the older son (his inheritance). But, they should still celebrate the return of the younger son because he was lost and is now found. More

Acknowledgement: Wikimedia

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