Monday, August 22, 2016

23 Works by the Great Artists, following Theseus, Part 2

73 Works by the Great Artists, following Theseus, Part 1, The Minotaur

Theseus's best friend was Pirithous, prince of the Lapiths. The Lapiths are a legendary people of Greek mythology, whose home was in Thessaly. The genealogies make them a kindred people with the Centaurs. Lapithes and Centaurus were said to be twin sons of the god Apollo and the nymph Stilbe. Lapithes were valiant warriors, but Centaurus were a deformed being who later mated with mares from whom the race of half-man, half-horse Centaurs then came. More

Pirithous had heard stories of Theseus's courage and strength in battle but wanted proof, so he rustled Theseus's herd of cattle and drove it from Marathon, and Theseus set out in pursuit. Pirithous took up his arms and the pair met to do battle, but were so impressed with each other they took an oath of friendship and joined the hunt for the Calydonian Boar.


Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
The hunt of Meleagros and Atalante, circa 1616/1620
Oil on canvas
257 × 416 cm (101.2 × 163.8 in)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, Austria


Peter Paul Rubens, (Flemish, 1577 - 1640)
The Calydonian Boar Hunt, c. 1611 - 1612
59.2 × 89.7 cm (23 5/16 × 35 5/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Trust

Peter Paul Rubens created this painting a few years after an extended stay in Italy. He drew from ancient sarcophagi and statues he had seen there for the poses of many of the figures. For example, the boar seen in profile was taken directly from a well-known marble in Florence's Uffizi Gallery. Rubens's appropriation of iconic images from antiquity was intended to resonate with learned viewers. For the figures on horseback, Rubens borrowed from his Renaissance predecessors, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. But Rubens's dynamic and inventive interpretation of the hunt was wholly his own. With this painting, he established the theme of the epic combat between man and animal, a subject to which he would return throughout his career. More

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish Baroque painter. A proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasized movement, colour, and sensuality, Rubens is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. More

Pirithous,The scene shows the wedding of Pirithous and Hippodamia, to which the Centaurs, who also participated are about to enter the building, bringing gifts among which there is a beautiful garden full of fruit basket, placed on the ground
 National Archaeological Museum of Naples
From Pompeii, House Gavius ​​Rufus. 

Later, Pirithous was preparing to marry Hippodamia. The centaurs were guests at the wedding feast, but got drunk and tried to abduct the women, including Hippodamia. 

Pirithous, and Theseus, led the Lapiths to victory over the Centaurs in a battle known as the Centauromachy. With Pirithous, Hippodamia mothered Polypoetes, but died shortly after her son's birth.


Piero di Cosimo, (1462–1521)
The Battle of the Centaurs and Lapiths, circa 1500-1515
Oil on panel
71 × 260 cm (28 × 102.4 in)
National Gallery

Piero di Cosimo (2 January 1462[1] – 12 April 1522), also known as Piero di Lorenzo, was a Florentine painter of the Italian Renaissance. He is most famous for the mythological and allegorical subjects he painted in the late Quattrocento; he is said to have abandoned these to return to religious subjects under the influence of Savonarola, the preacher who exercised a huge sway in Florence in the 1490s, and had a similar effect on Botticelli. The High Renaissance style of the new century had little influence on him, and he retained the straightforward realism of his figures, which combines with an often whimsical treatment of his subjects to create the distinctive mood of his works. Vasari has many stories of his eccentricity, and the mythological subjects have an individual and quirky fascination.


He trained under Cosimo Roselli, whose daughter he married, and assisted him in his Sistine Chapel frescos. He was also influenced by Early Netherlandish painting, and busy landscapes feature in many works, often forests seen close at hand. Several of his most striking secular works are in the long "landscape" format used for paintings inset into cassone wedding chests or spalliera headboards or panelling. He was apparently famous for designing the temporary decorations for Carnival and other festivities. More


DUJARDIN, Karel, (b. 1622, Amsterdam, d. 1678, Venezia)
The Battle of Centaurs and Lapiths at Hippodamia's Wedding, c. 1667
Oil on canvas
177 x 139 cm
Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam

Karel Dujardin (September 27, 1622 – November 20, 1678) was a Dutch Golden Age painter. Although he did a few portraits and a few history paintings of religious subjects, most of his work is small Italianate landscape scenes with animals and peasants, and other genre scenes. Dujardin spent two extended periods, at the beginning and end of his career, in Italy, and most of his paintings and landscape etchings have an Italian or Italianate setting. More

Sebastiano Ricci, (1659–1734)
Battle of the Centaurs and Lapiths, circa 1715
Oil on canvas
63 × 70 cm (24.8 × 27.6 in)

Sebastiano Ricci (1 August 1659 – 15 May 1734) was an Italian painter of the late Baroque school of Venice. About the same age as Piazzetta, and an elder contemporary of Tiepolo, he represents a late version of the vigorous and luminous Cortonesque style of grand manner fresco painting. More


Peter Paul Rubens and workshop
The Rape of Hippodamia, c. 1636 - 1637
182.5 cm x 285,5 cm,
Oil on canvas
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Peter Paul Rubens, (Flemish, 1577 - 1640), see above

Theseus, a great abductor of women, and his bosom companion, Pirithous, since they were sons of Zeus and Poseidon, pledged themselves to marry daughters of Zeus. Theseus, in an old tradition, chose Helen, and together they kidnapped her, intending to keep her until she was old enough to marry. 


Odorico Politi, Italian, 1785-1846
Theseus and Pirithous Playing Dice for Helen. 1831.
oil/canvas

Odorico Politi (Udine, 27 January 1785 - Venice, 18 October 1846) was an Italian painter. Odorico was born in Udine, and studied in Venice at the Accademia di Belle Arti with Teodoro Matteini. In 1812 he returned to Udine and began a career as a painter of neoclassical frescoes, specializing in historical and mythological subjects. Some of these frescoes can now be seen at the Palazzo Antonini and at Napoleon's Royal Palace in Venice. In 1831 he received an appointment as professor at the Accademia of Venice, where he had studied. Notable students include Pompeo Marino Molmenti, Antonio Dugoni, Fausto Antonioli and Cesare Dell'Acqua. More

Pirithous chose Persephone. They left Helen with Theseus's mother, Aethra at Aphidna, whence she was rescued by the Dioscuri.


Filippo Pelagio Palagi, 1775 - 1860
Theseus and Pirithous kidnapping Helen, c. 1814
Oil on canvas
96x135

Pelagio Palagi (May 25, 1775 – March 6, 1860) was an Italian painter, sculptor and interior decorator. Starting at a very young age he stdied perspective, architecture, figurative and portrait painting, and collecting. His formation and first works overlapped with the arrival of the Napoleonic troops in the city; thanks to the request of his mentor, Palagi desgigned uniforms, medals, and emblems with the symbols of Liberté, égalité, fraternité to be used in letters and cards for the Directory. Later, the new emerging bourgeoisie entrusted him with the creation of the monumental sepulchres. 

He moved to Rome in 1806 to complete his studies at the Accademia di San Luca. In 1815, after a brief stay in Bologna, the artist moved to Milan, where he opened a private school. In the Lombard capital the private clientele. By the end of the decade Palagi obtained the commission for the architectural and decorative intervention, and sculpture design of the Palazzo Arese Lucini and the Villa Tittoni Traversi.

In 1832 the king Carlo Alberto designated him head of the enlargement project of the Castle of Racconigi, and in 1834 the head position of the pictorial and decorative restoration project of the Castello di Pollenzo and the modernization project of the Royal Palace of Turin. In the same year he was given the Chair of Decoration (Cattedra di Ornato) of the Accademia Albertina. More

On Pirithous' behalf they travelled to the underworld, domain of Persephone and her husband Hades. As they wandered through the outskirts of Tartarus, Theseus sat down to rest on a rock. As he did so he felt his limbs change and grow stiff. He tried to rise but could not. He was fixed to the rock. As he turned to cry out to his friend, he saw that Pirithous too was crying out. Around him gathered the terrible band of Furies with snakes in their hair, torches and long whips in their hands. Before these monsters the hero's courage failed and he was led away to eternal punishment.

For many months in half darkness, Theseus sat immovably fixed to the rock, mourning for both his friend and for himself. In the end he was rescued by Heracles who had come to the underworld for his 12th task. 

There he persuaded Persephone to forgive him for the part he had taken in the rash venture of Pirithous. So Theseus was restored to the upper air but Pirithous never left the kingdom of the dead, for when he tried to free Pirithous, the Underworld shook. When Theseus returned to Athens, he found that the Dioscuri had taken Helen and Aethra to Sparta.

Lambert Barnard, (c.1485–1567)
Menalippe, Amazon Queen
oil on Canvas.

Lambert Barnard, also Lambert Bernardi (c.1485–1567) was an English Renaissance painter. Barnard worked in dry fresco and with oil on board his style being characterised by a use of rich colours, heavy black outline and lavish gilding. His work has often suffered from later heavy over-painting that has obscured the delicacy of his hand, but it is still possible to see he had a knowledge of contemporary European practice hinting that he might have served an apprenticeship with a Franco/Flemish workshop before, c.1513, entering the service of Robert Sherborn bishop of Chichester 1508-1536. Records indicate that in 1533, at Bishop Sherborn's request, the Dean and Chapter of Chichester Cathedral granted Barnard an annual payment in recognition of "his long and good service". Following the bishop's death in 1536 Barnard remained in his tenement in East Street, Chichester living on his annuity and occasionally updating his work on the portraits of kings and bishops and making repairs to other works in the cathedra. More

Hippolyta was the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war. The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons. 

Vittore Carpaccio, (Venice, 1465 - Venice, 1526)
The visit of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, to Theseus, king of Athens, c. 1495, 
Oil on wood
102 x 145 cm
Jacquemart-André Museum, Propriété de l'Institut de, Paris

Vittore Carpaccio (1465 – 1525/1526) was a Venetian painter of the Venetian school, who studied under Gentile Bellini. He is best known for a cycle of nine paintings, The Legend of Saint Ursula. His style was somewhat conservative, showing little influence from the Humanist trends that transformed Italian Renaissance painting during his lifetime. He was influenced by the style of Antonello da Messina and Early Netherlandish art. For this reason, and also because so much of his best work remains in Venice, his art has been rather neglected by comparison with other Venetian contemporaries, such as Giovanni Bellini or Giorgione. More

Hippolyta's girdle was the object of Heracles' ninth labor. He was sent to retrieve it for Admeta, the daughter of King Eurystheus. Theseus joined Heracles in his expedition. Hippolyta fell in love with Theseus and betrayed the Amazons by willingly leaving with him. She was taken to Athens where she was wed to Theseus, being the only Amazon to ever marry. 

Claude Deruet, (circa 1588–1660)
The triumph of the Amazons, c. 1620
Oil on canvas
51.4 × 66 cm (20.2 × 26 in)
Current location
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Claude Deruet (1588–1660) was a famous French Baroque painter of the 17th century, from the city of Nancy. He was an apprentice to Jacques Bellange, the official court painter to Charles III, Duke of Lorraine. He was in Rome between ca. 1612 and 1619, where he studied with the painter and etcher Antonio Tempesta. During his stay in Rome, he painted the Japanese samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga on a visit to Europe in 1615.


Deruet was made a noble by the Duke of Lorraine in 1621, and was then made a Knight of the Order of St Michel in 1645 by Louis XIII, who had in 1641 absorbed most of Lorraine into France. He had a luxurious residence in Nancy, named La Romaine, where Louis XIII and his Queen stayed in 1633. More

The other Amazons became enraged at the marriage and attacked Athens. This was the Attic War, in which they were defeated by Athenian forces under Theseus. When the defenders closed the doors on the attackers, Hippolyta was killed.

Franz von Stuck, (1863–1928)
Wounded Amazon, c. 1903
Oil on canvas
62.8 x 72.7 cm (24 3/4 x 28 5/8 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum

As both a founder of the Munich Secession and an influential teacher at the city’s Royal Academy , Franz von Stuck was a central figure in Munich’s art world at the turn of the twentieth century. His modern interpretation of the antique in works such as this sculpture and painting brought him particular success. Wounded Amazon depicts a battle between Amazons and centaurs; the particular subject is not found in classical mythology but is of the artist’s own invention. Though he was clearly influenced by the antiquities in Munich’s Glyptothek museum, Stuck based the painting on photographic studies of a model posed in his studio. Ever since he had featured the goddess Athena on the poster for the first Munich Secession exhibition in 1893, classical female warriors had appeared in his work as symbols of the new art. There are two other versions of this painting, and the artist eventually produced three life-sized versions of the sculpture (2003.132). One was installed outside Villa Stuck, the home he had designed for himself in Munich. More

Franz Stuck (February 23, 1863 – August 30, 1928) was a German painter, sculptor, engraver, and architect. Born at Tettenweis near Passau, Stuck displayed an affinity for drawing and caricature from an early age. To begin his artistic education he relocated in 1878 to Munich, where he would settle for life. From 1881 to 1885 Stuck attended the Munich Academy.

In 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the Munich Glass Palace, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of Paradise. In 1892 Stuck co-founded the Munich Secession, and also executed his first sculpture, Athlete. The next year he won further acclaim with the critical and public success of what is now his most famous work, the painting The Sin. Also during 1893, Stuck was awarded a gold medal for painting at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was appointed to a royal professorship. In 1895 he began teaching painting at the Munich Academy.

Having attained much fame by this time, Stuck was ennobled on December 9, 1905 and would receive further public honours from around Europe during the remainder of his life. He continued to be well respected among young artists as professor at the Munich Academy, even after his artistic styles became unfashionable. More

Anselm Feuerbach, (1829–1880)
Confrontation between the Amazons and Greeks, c. 1857
Museum of History of Art Oldenburg.

Anselm Feuerbach, (1829–1880), see below

Peter Paul Rubens, (1577–1640)
The Battle of the Amazons, circa 1600
Oil on canvas
Sanssouci Picture Gallery, Germany

Peter Paul Rubens, (1577–1640), see above

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) 
The Battle of the Amazons, circa 1619
Oil on panel
121 × 165 cm (47.6 × 65 in)
Alte Pinakothek, Kunstareal, Munich, Germany

Peter Paul Rubens, (1577–1640), see above

Anselm Feuerbach, (1829–1880)
The Battle of the Amazons , 2nd version, 1873
Oil on canvas
405 × 693 cm (159.4 × 272.8 in)
Current location
Nuremberg Opera House, Foyer, Germany

Anselm Feuerbach, (born September 12, 1829, Speyer, Bavaria [now in Germany]—died January 4, 1880, Venice, Italy) one of the leading German painters of the mid-19th century working in a Romantic style of Classicism.

Feuerbach was the son of a classical archaeologist and the nephew of the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. After studying art at the Düsseldorf Academy and in Munich, he went twice to Paris, where he worked in the studio of Thomas Couture and was influenced by Gustave Courbet and Eugène Delacroix.

Feuerbach lived in Italy from 1855 to 1873, and much of his best work was produced during this period. He was influenced by antique Greek and Roman art and Italian High Renaissance painting, and he developed an interest in idealized figure compositions of a lyrical, elegiac nature.


In 1873 Feuerbach became a professor at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and painted for the academy building Fall of the Titans, generally regarded as his weakest work. Discouraged by the harsh criticism of this work, Feuerbach left Vienna in 1876 and returned to Italy, where he died. More

Phaedra, Theseus's second wife and the daughter of King Minos, bore Theseus two sons, Demophon and Acamas. While these two were still in their infancy, Phaedra fell in love with Hippolytus, Theseus's son by the Amazon queen Hippolyta. 

According to some sources, Hippolytus had spurned Aphrodite to remain a steadfast and virginal devotee of Artemis, and Aphrodite made Phaedra fall in love with him as a punishment. He rejected her.

Alexandre Cabanel, (1823–1889)
Phèdre, c. 1880
Oil on canvas
194 × 286 cm (76.4 × 112.6 in)
Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France

Alexandre Cabanel (28 September 1823 – 23 January 1889) was a French painter born in Montpellier, Hérault. He painted historical, classical and religious subjects in the academic style. He was also well known as a portrait painter. According to Diccionario Enciclopedico Salvat, Cabanel is the best representative of the L'art pompier and Napoleon III's preferred painter.

Cabanel entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the age of seventeen, and studied with François-Édouard Picot. He exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1844, and won the Prix de Rome scholarship in 1845 at the age of 22. Cabanel was elected a member of the Institute in 1863. He was appointed professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1864 and taught there until his death.


He was closely connected to the Paris Salon: "He was elected regularly to the Salon jury and his pupils could be counted by the hundred. Through them, Cabanel did more than any other artist of his generation to form the character of belle époque French painting". His refusal together with William-Adolphe Bouguereau to allow the impressionist painter Édouard Manet and many other painters to exhibit their work in the Salon of 1863 led to the establishment of the Salon des Refusés by the French government. Cabanel won the Grande Médaille d'Honneur at the Salons of 1865, 1867, and 1878. More

In one version, Phaedra's nurse told Hippolytus of her love, and he swore he would not reveal her as a source of information. In revenge, Phaedra wrote Theseus a letter that claimed Hippolytus raped her. Theseus believed her and cursed Hippolytus with one of the three curses he had received from Poseidon. As a result, Hippolytus's horses were frightened by a sea monster and dragged their rider to his death.

Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, French (Paris 1774 - 1833 Rome)
Phaedra and Hippolytus, c. 1802
Oil on canvas
39.4 x 52.1 cm (15 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)
Harvard Art Museums


Hippolytus standing before his father Theseus and making a gesture of denial; Theseus sits at right, with his wife Phaedra by his side staring at the viewer.

Pierre-Narcisse, baron Guérin (13 May 1774 – 6 July 1833) was a French painter. A pupil of Jean-Baptiste Regnault, he carried off one of the three grands prix offered in 1796, in consequence of the competition not having taken place since 1793. In 1799.

Guérin on this occasion was publicly crowned by the president of the Institute, and went to Rome to study under Joseph-Benoît Suvée. In 1800, unable to remain in Rome on account of his health, he went to Naples, where he painted the Grave of Amyntas. In 1802 Guérin produced Phaedra and Hippolytus (Louvre); in 1810, after his return to Paris, he again achieved a great success with Andromache and Pyrrhus (Louvre); and in the same year also exhibited Cephalus and Aurora (Louvre) and Bonaparte and the Rebels of Cairo (Versailles). These paintings suited the popular taste of the First Empire, being highly melodramatic and pompously dignified.


Guérin was commissioned to paint for the Madeleine a scene from the history of St Louis, but his health prevented him from accomplishing what he had begun, and in 1822 he accepted the post of director of the French Academy in Rome, which in 1816 he had refused. On returning to Paris in 1828, Guérin, who had previously been made chevalier of the order of St. Michel, was ennobled. He now attempted to complete Pyrrhus and Priam, a work which he had begun at Rome, but in vain; his health had finally broken down, and in the hope of improvement he returned to Italy with Horace Vernet. Shortly after his arrival at Rome Baron Guérin died, on 6 July 1833, and was buried in the church of La Trinité de Monti by the side of Claude Lorrain. More

Alternatively, after Phaedra told Theseus that Hippolytus had raped her, Theseus killed his son and Phaedra committed suicide out of guilt for she had not intended Hippolytus to die. Artemis later told Theseus the truth. In a third version, Phaedra simply told Theseus this and did not kill herself; Dionysus sent a wild bull which terrified Hippolytus's horses.

Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912)
The Death of Hippolytus, c. 1860
Oil, canvas

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema OM RA (8 January 1836 – 25 June 1912) was a Dutch painter of special British denizenship. Born in Dronrijp, the Netherlands, and trained at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, Belgium, he settled in England in 1870 and spent the rest of his life there. A classical-subject painter, he became famous for his depictions of the luxury and decadence of the Roman Empire, with languorous figures set in fabulous marbled interiors or against a backdrop of dazzling blue Mediterranean Sea and sky.


Though admired during his lifetime for his draftsmanship and depictions of Classical antiquity, his work fell into disrepute after his death, and only since the 1960s has it been re-evaluated for its importance within nineteenth-century English art. More

Peter Paul Rubens, (1577–1640)
The Death of Hyppolytus, c. 1611
Oil on Canvas
35x50
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Peter Paul Rubens, (1577–1640), see above

Carle Vernet. French 1758-1836
The Death of Hippolytus. 1800-20
Oil/paper

Carle Vernet (French, 1758 - 1836)
Death of Hippolytos, c.1800
Black chalk stumped and heightened with white
64.8 x 98.6 cm (25 1/2 x 38 13/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Trust

Antoine Charles Horace Vernet (14 August 1758 – 17 November 1836) was a French painter, the youngest child of Claude Joseph Vernet, and the father of Horace Vernet. Born in Bordeaux, Vernet was a pupil of his father and of Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié. Strangely, after winning the grand prix (1782), his father had to recall him back from Rome to France to prevent him from entering a monastery.

In his Triumph of Aemilius Paulus, he broke with tradition and drew the horse with the forms he had learnt from nature in stables and riding-schools. His hunting-pieces, races, landscapes, and work as a lithographer were also very popular.

Carle's sister was executed by the guillotine during the Revolution. After this, he gave up art.

When he again began to produce under the French Directory (1795–1799), his style had changed radically. He started drawing in minute detail battles and campaigns to glorify Napoleon. His drawings of Napoleon's Italian campaign won acclaim as did the Battle of Marengo, and for his Morning of Austerlitz Napoleon awarded him the Legion of Honour. Louis XVIII of France awarded him the Order of Saint Michael. Afterwards he excelled in hunting scenes and depictions of horses.

In addition to being a painter and lithographer, Carle Vernet was an avid horseman. Just days before his death at the age of seventy-eight, he was seen racing as if he were a sprightly young man. More

Lycomedes of the island of Skyros threw Theseus off a cliff after he had lost popularity in Athens. In 475 BC, in response to an oracle, Cimon of Athens, having conquered Skyros for the Athenians, identified as the remains of Theseus "a coffin of a great corpse with a bronze spear-head by its side and a sword." (Plutarch, Life of Cimon, quoted Burkert 1985, p. 206). The remains found by Cimon were reburied in Athens. The early modern name Theseion (Temple of Theseus) was mistakenly applied to the Temple of Hephaestus which was thought to be the actual site of the hero's tomb.


Acknowledgement: Wikipedia

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others

Sunday, August 21, 2016

14 Paintings, RELIGIOUS ART - The Bible, by the Old Masters, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, with footnotes, 21

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. 


Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
The Foundation of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The Patrician's Dream
c. 1664 - 1665
Oil on canvas
231 x 524 cm.

Patricians, were the governing elites of cities in parts of medieval and Early Modern Europe

This painting and its companion, The Patrician Reveals his Dream to the Pope (Below), are among Murillo’s most renowned works. The two arched works were intended to hang beneath a small dome in the recently remodeled Sevillian church of Santa María la Blanca in 1665, and they narrate the story of the founding of the Roman basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
The Foundation of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The Patrician recounts his Dream to the Pope, c. 1664 - 1665
Oil on canvas
230.5 x 523 cm.

At that time lived in the Eternal City a patrician named John, and his wife, who professed great devotion to the Virgin Mary to whom he decided to bequeath all his possessions. To do this, on numerous occasions both spouses had prayed to the Virgin to send them some sign or indication of how they should formalize the delivery of his fortune. In this respect the legend says that one day, Aug. 5, the Virgin appeared to them in a dream at night to asking that they might build a church on the Esquiline; and that they would find the plans for the church drawn with snow on floor of the temple. 


In the second painting, the Patrician John and his wife  visit the Pope Liberius, to inform him of his deam and the revelation he received. The Pope organized a procession to the Esquiline where indeed he found the floor covered with snow, and miraculously, the church's plans drawn on it. More

Murillo was born to Gaspar Esteban and María Pérez Murillo. He was baptized in Seville in 1618, the youngest son in a family of fourteen. His father was a barber and surgeon. His parents died when Murillo was still very young, and the artist was largely brought up by his aunt and uncle.


Murillo began his art studies under Juan del Castillo in Seville. There he became familiar with Flemish painting and the "Treatise on Sacred Images" of Molanus (Ian van der Meulen or Molano). The great commercial importance of Seville at the time ensured that he was subject to influences from other regions. As his painting developed, his more important works evolved towards the polished style that suited the bourgeois and aristocratic tastes of the time, demonstrated especially in his Roman Catholic religious works.


Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
Adoration of the Shepherds (1668)
Oil on canvas
147 × 218 cm
Wallace Collection, London

Murillo’s painting, The Adoration of the Shepherds, c. 1660, depicts an episode in the Nativity of Christ, and shows the baby Jesus in the centre of the composition, surrounded by the Virgin Mary, Joseph and the shepherds.


Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
Adoration of the Shepherds (1668)
Detail

Mary presents her newborn to the three shepherds eagerly gathered around His crib. These figures, dressed in modest, earth-coloured robes, represent the cycle of life from youth to old age, personifying universality. Their gifts to the Christ child are doves, in a basket held by a servant, which symbolise purification; and a bound lamb, at the feet of one of the shepherds, symbolising Christ’s future sacrifice. 


Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
Adoration of the Shepherds, circa 1657
Oil on canvas
187 × 228 cm (73.6 × 89.8 in)
Current location
Prado Museum

The presence of putti and the heavenly vision of a Cross at the very top of the painting also allude to the Crucifixion. The Christ Child’s upturned head indicates His recognition and contemplation of these symbols. What makes the painting particularly striking is the extent to which Murillo invests his scene with emotion and realism. Details such as the cushion and straw hat, which have been tossed aside, give the painting a sense of intimacy. The figures’ expressive faces and gestures, and the inclusion of details such as the shepherd’s dirty foot in the foreground all contribute to a convincing sense. This connecting sense of the everyday is further reinforced by the presence of the animals, such as the curious dog on the left-hand side of the painting, and the ox glaring out towards the viewer, thereby drawing the spectator’s gaze further into the picture. More


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
Adoration of the Magi, c. (1655 - 1660)
Oil on canvas
Height: 1,908 mm (75.12 in). Width: 1,461 mm (57.52 in).
Toledo Museum of Art

This painting is Murillo's only known depiction of the Adoration of the Magi—the wise kings from the east who come to worship the Christ Child. Murillo treats the subject in an appealingly human way, convincingly expressing the joy, solemn contemplation, and humble devotion of the three kings and their entourage as the Jesus is presented to them by the Virgin Mary.

In this, his only known depiction of the Adoration of the Magi, Murillo treats the subject in an appealingly human way. Instead of concentrating on the splendor of the kings and their entourage, he instead emphasizes their reaction to the Christ Child, convincingly expressing their joy, solemn contemplation, and humble devotion as the Virgin Mary presents the child to them. Seen from the back, the kneeling king makes a particularly effective emotional impact and helps to draw the viewer into the scene.

Though the biblical account of the Magi following a star from the east in search of the Christ Child is brief, later Church tradition expanded the story, providing names and other details about the wise men. As they came to represent the kings of the world acknowledging the sovereignty of Christ, their depiction in art developed symbolic associations. Here Murillo follows the tradition of representing the Magi as the three ages of man (youth, maturity, and old age) and as the three pre-Columbian continents known to the West (Africa, Asia, and Europe).


The overall composition of the painting and the inclusion of the two young pages derive from three versions of the subject by Peter Paul Rubens that Murillo would have known from engravings. His synthesis of the great Flemish master's dramatic style is tempered by his own overriding sense of sweetness and simplicity and his gift for naturalistic detail. More

In 1642, at the age of 26, he moved to Madrid, where he most likely became familiar with the work of Velázquez, and would have seen the work of Venetian and Flemish masters in the royal collections; the rich colors and softly modeled forms of his subsequent work suggest these influences. In 1645 he returned to Seville and married Beatriz Cabrera y Villalobos, with whom he eventually had eleven children.


Murillo Bartolomé Esteban
Flight into Egypt, c. 1655-60
Oil on cancas
155,5 x 125 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 

Murillo painted several variants of this popular subject, this is not the best among them. There is an autograph variant of this painting in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow. 


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
The Flight into Egypt, c. (1645 - 1650)
Height: 2,630 mm (103.54 in). Width: 2,100 mm (82.68 in).
Musei di Strada Nuova



Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
The Flight into Egypt, c. 1647-1650
Oil on canvas
209 × 163 cm (82.3 × 64.2 in)
Detroit Institute of Arts



Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban. 1617-1682
Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Circa 1665
Oil on Canvas
136,5x179,5 cm
The State Hermitage Museum



Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
Angel's Kitchen, c. 1646
Oil on Canvas
H. 1.80 m; W. 4.50 m
Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

The Angels' Kitchen depicts a Franciscan friar, Francisco, in ecstasy and celestial cooks at work. In one of Murillo's first major commissions, executed for the Small Cloister of the Franciscan monastery in Seville, he combines angels and still life motifs in a graceful and realistic manner.


Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
Angel's Kitchen, c. 1646
Detail, Left Side

In the kitchen of a monastery, a Franciscan friar in ecstatic prayer, featured on the left, levitates in a nimbus. His Father Superior and two gentlemen, who have just entered, look on in amazement.


Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
Angel's Kitchen, c. 1646
Detail, Center

The two large graceful angels in the middle of the picture separate the friar's ecstasy from the next episode, depicted on the right.


Bartolomé Esteban MURILLO (Seville, 1618 - Seville, 1682)
Angel's Kitchen, c. 1646
Detail, Right Side

Several angels and cherubs are going about the friar's work as he now looks on in amazement at the back of the kitchen. The celestial cooks are preparing food, grinding spices, scouring a saucepan, setting the table. In one canvas, Murillo achieves a natural blend of mystical figures and realistically painted still lifes: copper cauldrons, an earthenware pitcher, vegetables, a joint of meat. 

According to the verse inscription at the bottom of the picture, the friar's name is Francisco, but his identity has not been established with certainty. It could be Francisco Perez, the cook at the Seville monastery who was venerated for his piety, or Francisco Diraquio, a Greek friar known for his ecstasies.

This painting was part of the first major commission awarded to Murillo, the Sevillian painter who dominated the latter half of the 17th century. In 1645, the Franciscans in Seville commissioned him to paint a cycle of thirteen pictures for the Small Cloister of their monastery.

In that year, he painted eleven canvases for the convent of St. Francisco el Grande in Seville. These works depicting the miracles of Franciscan saints vary between the Zurbaránesque tenebrism (dramatic illumination) of the Ecstasy of St Francis and a softly luminous style (as in Death of St Clare) that became typical of Murillo's mature work. According to the art historian Manuela B. Mena Marqués, "in ... the Levitation of St Giles (usually known as the "Angel’s Kitchen", Paris, Louvre) and the Death of St Clare (Dresden, Gemäldegal. Alte Meister), the characteristic elements of Murillo’s work are already evident: the elegance and beauty of the female figures and the angels, the realism of the still-life details and the fusion of reality with the spiritual world, which is extraordinarily well developed in some of the compositions."

Also completed c. 1645 was the first of Murillo's many paintings of children, The Young Beggar (Musée du Louvre), in which the influence of Velázquez is apparent.[3] Following the completion of a pair of pictures for the Seville Cathedral, he began to specialize in the themes that brought him his greatest successes: the Virgin and Child and the Immaculate Conception.

After another period in Madrid, from 1658 to 1660, he returned to Seville. Here he was one of the founders of the Academia de Bellas Artes (Academy of Art), sharing its direction, in 1660, with the architect Francisco Herrera the Younger. This was his period of greatest activity, and he received numerous important commissions, among them the altarpieces for the Augustinian monastery, the paintings for Santa María la Blanca (completed in 1665), and others. He died in Seville in 1682 at the age of 64.

Murillo had many pupils and followers. The prolific imitation of his paintings ensured his reputation in Spain and fame throughout Europe, and prior to the 19th century his work was more widely known than that of any other Spanish artist. Artists influenced by his style included Gainsborough and Greuze.

The Museo del Prado in Madrid; Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia; and the Wallace Collection in London are among the museums holding works by Murillo. His painting Christ on the Cross is at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego.[5] Christ After the Flagellation is at the Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois.[6] His work is also found at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. More

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Acknowledgement: WikipediaMusée du Louvre