Bartolome Esteban Murillo - life and paintings Automatic translate
Not so much is known about the life of the leading artist of the “golden age” of Spanish painting, who made an invaluable contribution to the history of art and became the founder of the Seville school of painting. Bartolome Esteban Murillo was born, most likely in December 1617. There is a record of his baptism, which took place on January 1, 1618. To understand, under the influence of which the creative style of a brilliant artist was formed, one must understand what Seville was where he was born at that time.
Seville was one of two ports in Spain that was allowed to trade with America (according to the royal decree of the 16th century). Pearls, gold, silver, leather, as well as cocoa, rare birds, hin and other goods unprecedented in Spain were brought here. Huge shipyards on the banks of the navigable river Guadalquivir were constantly busy, here they built ships, made sails, ropes and everything necessary for the fleet. From the raw materials brought in, the most skilled artisans of Seville (more precisely, its suburbs Triana and Makarene) created magnificent vessels, brocade brocades of gold and cloth, clothes for the clergy, produced and painted massive and heavy church candles. On the porches of numerous churches crowded, asking for alms, the poor, the poor and the crippled. The number of poor, street children and homeless vagrants was huge. In the documents of the City Council there are many records that the poor were starving.
At the same time, Seville was also a major center of the omnipotent and wealthy Catholic Church. Already in the 15th century, the Spanish clergy were proud of the huge cathedrals that were the largest Gothic buildings in Europe. The monasteries were numerous and vastly rich, they owned real treasures and generously distributed orders to the best artists. The magnificent church festivities and solemn religious processions of Seville were famous throughout the country. This was taken care not only by the clergy, but also to know: the Dukes of Medina Sidonia, Zunig, Alcalá and many others donated large sums of money for such events, trying to emphasize their wealth and influence.
Thus, Seville was a city of contrasts - luxury and poverty, wealth and squalor. Even in the second half of the 17th century, when ruin and impoverishment swept all Spain as a result of the economic crisis, ships still came to Seville from across the ocean, the pulse of commercial life still beated in it, however, all the lands of Andalusia belonged to five noble families. The nobles, who were so proud of the nobleness of blood and considered shameful any work, except military affairs, church or court service, became increasingly involved in trade. The greatness of Spain is a thing of the past, as are its dreams of world domination. In Spanish art, heroic images of fearless victorious warriors and strong-willed martyrs appeared less and less. Realistic art gradually lost its stern masculinity and expressive character. They were replaced either by excessively exalted, or, conversely, soft lyrical images, which can be seen in the works of masters of both the Madrid school, for example, Juan Kareño de Miranda, Claudio Coelho, Antonio Pereda, and Seville - Herrera the Younger, Pedro de Moya, Alonso Kano. The pretentiousness of magnificent ornaments grew in architecture, and in wooden sculpture the statues were often not just painted, but dressed up in real luxurious outfits.
Beginning of the creative path
During this period, the future great artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo was born. Having lost his parents early, the boy was brought up in the family of his aunt, the wife of the Seville barber surgeon Juan Lagares. Having early discovered the child’s penchant for painting, relatives gave him to study the artist Juan del Castilio, who was distinguished by his love for Seville novelists and Italian artists. But soon Murillo turned out to be left to his own devices, as his teacher left for Cadiz. Early biographers claim that the young artist painted his work on small pieces of canvas and then sold them at the shipyard. This seems likely, since in Seville, many painters worked for the shipyard.
Reliable facts about the life of Murillo are extremely few. He spent about two years in Madrid (probably from 1648 to 1650), where he really could meet with Velazquez and study thanks to him the paintings of great masters in the royal collections. In addition, Murillo’s friend, Pedro de Moya, who admired the works of Anthony van Dyck, brought copies and drawings from the works of this genius of painting from Flanders and England to Seville. Murillo carried out mainly the orders of the monasteries, creating large cycles of biblical and gospel stories, legends about the life of saints. In the stories “Adoration of the Shepherds”, “The Miracle of Satisfying Five Thousand People with Five Breads”, numerous scenes of giving alms and healing sick saints, he lovingly portrayed the poor Seville: peasants, beggars, cripples. All his life he wrote genre paintings, depicting barefoot children of the Spanish poor, engaged in games right on the streets of the city.
In the works of the early period of Murillo’s work (40s of the 17th century), the obvious influence of Velazquez, Herrera the Elder, Zurbaran, Roelas and other masters of the Seville school is evident. The artist works in the dark manner of caravaggists, reviving his canvases with only a few spots in warm colors. Already in these years, the young artist begins to become interested in the problem of light transmission, making timid attempts to solve it in his works.
Perhaps the young Murillo painted the painting “Adoration of the Shepherds,” which is now in the Hermitage. Before the young pretty Madonna, gently looking at the baby Jesus, lying in a wretched manger, there are simple Andalusian peasants who brought their meager gifts. This is a kneeling old man, timidly raising his hands and but not daring to touch the baby, a sharp-nosed, smiling old woman in a light shawl, a young man in a red cape and a shepherd with a characteristic staff. Their figures are still written rather rigidly, and their placement is not too successful: they are placed by a “ladder” - one above the other. The dark color of the canvas on the left is illuminated by the light emanating from the baby. The shining whiteness of the sheet and the delicate pinkish body of the child create an illusion of light shining, illuminating Madonna’s meek face, her reddish simple dress, and casting golden highlights to the edge of the rough clothes of the kneeling old man.
In the 40s and 50s, Murillo created genre paintings more than once, continuing the established democratic tradition of the Seville school of painting in the first half of the century. Such works include “Gypsy” (Madrid, Prado), “Girl with Flowers and Fruits” (Moscow, Pushkin Museum), “Lousy” (Paris, Louvre) and “Boy with a Dog” (St. Petersburg, Hermitage).
The painting "Boy with a Dog" was painted in the mid-50s. We see a boy walking down the street. In his hand is a basket. The kid, affectionately smiling, with a gesture of his hand shows the dog that in his basket there is nothing except an empty clay jug. The child’s figurine was written in generations, but the artist managed to create a sense of the boy’s movement along the street, a clear understanding that the baby is talking with a four-legged friend on the go. The boy’s face is painted with such realism that there is no doubt that the picture was painted from nature and the artist knew this child well. The figure is outlined by soft smooth lines. Illuminating a slender face that does not differ in beauty, a smile is felt under the long eyelashes of slightly lowered eyelids, through which the luster of crafty eyes is clearly visible. The artist writes hair, face, hands, clothes with a very thin layer of paint, holding long oblique strokes with a brush. The color of the picture is dull, strictly thought out and rather graphic. The gray tones of the sky brighten to the horizon, on the right rises a yellowish wall with an inexpressive pale green tree. Against this faded background, the dark sleeves of the jacket, the light coat of the dog and the golden basket stand out clearly. Probably, this same boy served as a model for the painter for the work “Boy in the Window” (London, National Gallery), in which he also worked out his distinctive flavor, continuing to experiment with light and color.
Success and recognition
With the improvement of his skills, Murillo in the 50s of the 17th century increasingly honed the gamut of golden and silver tones that attracted him, trying to convey an air haze pierced by light. The master’s career is gradually gaining momentum. Already in 1656 he received the title of the first painter of his native Seville for the large painting “Vision of St. Anthony of Padua ”performed for the altar of Seville Cathedral. Everyone admired how masterfully the stream of light was written out, to which the monk Anthony of Padua stretches his arms, who saw the baby Jesus coming down from heaven.
Contemporaries extolled Murillo: they began to call him “Seville Apelles,” comparing him with the great painter of ancient Greece, and even placed him higher than Titian himself. At the turn of the 1950s and 1960s, the work “The Annunciation” was created (St. Petersburg, Hermitage). In it we can see an even more subtle elaboration of light and color than in the picture “Boy with a Dog”. The angel, who had just come down to Mary with the good news that she was destined to become the mother of the Son of God, knelt down before her.
Together with the angel, the sky in the form of a light cloud seemed to have entered the modest room, having washed out the outlines of the walls and enveloped the column with haze. Only a table with a book lying on it, a bouquet of lilies in a thin glass vase and slabs of a simple floor are clearly visible. A light blanket on Maria’s head, and her shoulders merge with the cloud. The overall coloring of the picture is very finely resolved. The main color spot was an angel scarf, carmine red, with delicate tints of shades, easily fluttering against the background of smoky gray clouds. The color of the scarf goes well with the purple-gray clothes of the angel and the golden-yellow basket on the floor, and even with the soft blue pillow in it. The second version of the painting is in the Prado Museum in Madrid, but on it part of the angel’s foot and part of the flower vase are cut off by the edges of the canvas, which significantly distorts the composition of the work.
The painter, as the true son of his land, repeatedly turned to the image of the Madonna and sang the beauty of the women of Seville. Andalusians called their land "the land of Mary the Baptist." It was the Virgin Mary who was the patroness of Seville, as well as all the cities and villages of Andalusia. Ordinary people honored her as an intercessor, composed songs, tales and legends about her. In folk poetry, Madonna has always been a beauty with big eyes and delicate white hands. She is admired by people, and trees, and the sun, and the sea and streams. In the works of Murillo, Maria is also always a big-eyed, graceful, tender and slender woman, in contrast to the works of many Spanish masters who saw in Madonna, primarily her mother, with modestly downcast eyes looking at her child.
The most famous Madrillas of Murillo: “Madonna and Child” (Florence, Uffizi), “Madonna and Rosary” (Madrid, Prado), “Madonna and Child”, which has the second name - “Madonna and Napkin” (Seville, Museum of Fine Arts) and “Madonna and Child”, also known as the “Gypsy Madonna” (Rome, Corsini Gallery). All these charming women looking at the viewer can also be admired, not just prayed to them. The artist’s charming image is found in various scenes: “Immaculate Conception”, “Annunciation”, “Adoration of the Shepherds”, “Rest on the Flight into Egypt”, “Flight into Egypt”, “Holy Family”, “Taking the Madonna to Heaven”, and many others, both written by order of the church, and created for other customers.
Compositions of Murillo’s works commissioned by the Catholic Church are distinguished by a combination of calm solemnity of the religious canvas with genre motifs that bring warmth and soulfulness to simple human life. This is the work "Rest on the Flight into Egypt." Here we see the serene dream of a baby, the caring gesture of a mother’s hand with an open palm protecting a child, Maria’s calm gentle face, the reliable canopy of a tree under which she rested. Joseph stands nearby, holding a mule. Cute curious angels, afraid to wake the child, stand embracing at a distance.
The work is surprisingly harmonious: the ratio of figures and landscape, the smooth flow of soft lines, the warm colors of Madonna’s red robes combined with Joseph’s dark brown clothes, trees, a baby’s pink calf and a transparent silver haze of distant sloping hills. Careful masterful execution of ordinary things - neatly knotted knots, thrown on top of Joseph’s straw hat, a bottle in an empty pumpkin, proves to us how skillful still life master Murillo was. None of the Spanish masters so often turned to apocryphal subjects like Murillo. They were interested in him no less than the classic subjects of the Ascension of the Madonna and Immaculate Conception, many examples of which can be found in museums around the world - in the Prado, the Hermitage, the Louvre, the museums of Seville and private collections. Apocrypha is a legend not allowed by the official church in the texts of the four existing canonical gospels: legends about the games of the little Christ with his brothers (sons of Joseph); about the date palm, which grew on the prayer of the Madonna during her journey to Egypt; an attack on a holy family of animals and robbers (dragon, wolves, lion and leopard); on the upbringing of the boy Jesus by Joseph; about Mary’s childhood and many others.
A characteristic of the Seville school of painting was the image of the Madonna flying into the sky, accompanied by angels. Young Velazquez painted the Immaculate Conception (London, National Gallery), showing her a young, quite earthly girl with a slightly full-bodied face, her eyes shyly embarrassed. As many art historians believe, it was written from Juana, daughter of the teacher of Velazquez - Francisco Pacheco, who later became his wife. Below you can see the buildings and streets of Seville. Murillo created a new image in Spanish painting of Mary - a young, fragile, graceful Sevillian, soaring in the clouds, smoothly and easily rising up. Such is the “Immaculate Conception” stored in the Hermitage. A dense gray cloud, on which little angels frolic gaily, carries away the Madonna standing on it. Virgin Mary stands on it, bending one knee slightly, gracefully, only with the touch of her fingers, joining her hands and gently holding the curly edge of the cloak with her elbows.
The Ascension painting (St. Petersburg, the Hermitage) was painted several years later. The girl’s face resembles the face of Maria from the Immaculate Conception, created by the artist for the Capuchin monastery and stored in Seville. Probably both paintings were painted by the master from the same model. The Madonna is dressed in a white long dress, on her waist - a golden belt, a scarf draped over her shoulders, easily swirls in the air. Unusually masterfully conveyed a smooth movement upward. It seems to the viewer that he is standing below and his gaze is gradually following the ascending figure. Angels play at Mary’s feet, and one of them, a dark-skinned dark-haired little boy, tries to support the fluttering cloak of the Virgin by flying up to her. Madonna’s right arm is raised, her head is slightly tilted, her eyes are raised to the sky.
The impression of an upward movement is achieved not only by composition. Murillo shows this aspiration with rich colors and light. Right below - total darkness - this is an abandoned land. Rising up, the background becomes lighter, more transparent, the colors are lighter, silvery, the silhouettes of flying angels drown in their haze. To the upper edge of the canvas, warmer golden tones appear, shimmering in yellow, fawn and pink undertones. The artist again writes with long oblique strokes, everything is smooth, soft, the wings of the angels are only slightly touched by white. Chiaroscuro is transparent, the transition of tones is invisible, and the contours of the figures dissolve in the air.
Murillo also has another Madonna - the mistress of a poor house, the ordinary wife of a craftsman. In the 18th century, the Hermitage acquired the painting "The Holy Family", the small format of which corresponds to the intimate interpretation of the plot. The carpenter Joseph had an hour of rest. Putting the job aside, he took the child in his arms, his father’s face calm and affectionate. The child pulls the pens to the mother, who left sewing to take her son. The action probably takes place in a workshop in which a green curtain separates the workspace from the housing. Golden soft light fills the whole space. The colorful gamut of work was subtly resolved: Joseph’s yellow cloak and the gray color of his clothes, Maria’s pink dress and a dark blue cloak lying on her lap, a pale yellow shawl, a baby’s white shroud and pink shades were skillfully coordinated and deeply thought out. Light, almost transparent long strokes are created by the artist overhanging the edge of the white shroud and the folds of the curtain, while the basket weaving, on the contrary, is written with short strokes of the brush. The simple economy of a simple carpenter - a workbench with a plane, a saw, leaning against the table, and a basket of tools are located in the foreground, but the golden air of the room softens their outlines, as if dissolving in a heavenly haze.
In 1660, Murillo became president of the Academy of Arts in Seville, founded by himself, a free association of artists that existed on their own donations. He believed that the artist should first study nature and follow the traditions of art accepted at home, and imitate antiquity. His works differed from the works of the Bologna Academy exclusively in genre motives, interest in Spanish folk types and the development of chiaroscuro and color issues.
The protector of the Seville Academy was the Marquis of Villamanrique, for whom the artist, in the 1665-1670s, performed a series of paintings on scenes from the life of Jacob. Among them are the works “The Ladder of Jacob” and “The Blessing of Jacob Isaac” (both in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg). These are huge decorative works designed to decorate the palace. In both canvases, the biblical plot is as if pushed into the background. In the painting “The Blessing of Jacob Isaac”, the scene with the participation of the main characters is allocated a much smaller place than the rest of the landscape with figures. The arch of the house, in the depths of which we see on the bed of a sitting blind old man Isaac, is shown on the right. Next to him is his wife Rebekah, and his Jacob is kneeling at his father’s bed. This is a story about how a dying Isaac wanted to bless Esau, his eldest son,to whom he planned to transfer leadership in the family. Using the blindness of her husband, Rebekah brought her youngest son, his favorite, Jacob, to him. All characters are very characteristic of Murillo. Isaac is a calm and gracious old man, Rebekah is a thin old woman, with sunken cheeks and a sharp nose. This type of women is often found in Murillo’s paintings - this is Anna, the mother of Mary, and old beggars in scenes of giving alms, and peasant women in numerous “Adoration of the Shepherds”.and old beggars in scenes of giving alms, and peasant women in numerous “Adoration of the Shepherds”.and old beggars in scenes of giving alms, and peasant women in numerous “Adoration of the Shepherds”.
Light and space
The whole scene of the father’s blessing of the son is highlighted as if shining from within by a bright red curtain behind Isaac’s bed. An unusual feeling of space in the room is created by a clear transition between the dark edge of the arch and the light tone of Isaac’s shirt and pillows, to the luminiferous bright hanging edge of the curtain. The spacious landscape, extending beyond the wall of the house, attracts the eye with pre-thunderclouds floating above the ground. Soft overflows of sky tones are infinitely diverse - all shades of gray from smoky dark to transparent silvery, in which the outlines of flying birds are lost.
All shades of sky colors are perfectly combined with the brownish-golden tones of the road and shadows on it. Throughout the work, one feels the strict order of a single compositional solution, emphasizing the depth of space. The road that goes into the mountains, the tree leaning in the same direction, the movement of a woman bent under the load of a heavy jug, the distant figure of a hunter all reinforce the impression of depth. The picture is replete with household elements - vessels in the foreground, dovecote, a fence from old boards, flower pots on the roof. We see plaster falling off in some places on the wall of the house. All this is taken from life and shows us the life of ordinary Andalusians.
The work “The Staircase of Jacob” is more decorative. Here Murillo magnificently conveyed the fabulousness and richness of the dream. The biblical story tells how Jacob, fearing his brother’s revenge, traveled to the country of Harran, but on the way fell asleep and saw in a dream a staircase to heaven, along which angels descended, bearing the news that God had decided the whole country on whose earth he is sleeping, give him. The action takes place at night in the light of the moon, casting its faint rays onto the river, waterfall, twisted trunks and tree branches. The figure of Jacob in pale clothes is hardly noticeable. And here, the painter is most attracted by the landscape and the creation on the canvas of the magical reality of moonlight that appears through dark clouds. Delicate fragile angels are dressed in pale yellow, pink and blue robes. Against the background of a mysterious night landscape,with a complex range of dark and brightening tones, their wings and clothes shimmer with light spots. The dark gray sky is painted with characteristic large sweeping strokes. The leaves on the branches of mighty old trees are slightly touched in some places by pink, in some places by red curling strokes, which creates a false impression of flowers.
In the heyday of his pictorial mastery, in the 1660-1670s, Murillo sought to poetize the images of his characters, for which he was repeatedly accused of some sweetness and deliberate beauty of the heroes of his paintings. However, these reproaches are not entirely fair. In fact, the children that we see on the canvases “John the Baptist with the Lamb” (St. Petersburg, the Hermitage), “The Good Shepherd” (Madrid, Prado), and others are typical of Andalusia, they can still be seen in Seville and surrounding villages. The democratic orientation of the artist’s work was expressed in the fact that he equated the beauty of the Madonna with the beauty of the simple women of Andalusia, and the beauty of her son, little Jesus, with the beauty of street rags.
For example, on the painting “The Alms of Foma Villanueva” (Seville, Museum of Fine Arts) we see a young resident of Seville, clutching the baby with one hand to the chest, and the other leading the older half-naked baby by the hand. The woman and her children are no different from the Madonna and baby Jesus from the artist’s religious paintings.
In the painting “John the Baptist with the Lamb”, little John is a handsome big-eyed boy with large locks, pressing a fluffy lamb to his chest. The gentle chiseled legs and arms of the child and his slightly curved figure give him grace. The boy is placed in the center of the composition, in which the landscape plays a large role, reminding us of the painting “Jacob’s Ladder”. Murillo has a lot of such children’s images.
The painting "Joseph, Leading the Baby of Christ" (St. Petersburg, Hermitage), painted in 1670, is interpreted as a genre scene. A young black-bearded Joseph leads a curly-haired boy dressed in a long purple shirt, talking with him on the road. The city landscape that we see behind them - Seville, its buildings and streets are more than once recognized in the works of the master. Murillo often referred to this plot, which was not included in the canonical gospels. On the canvas "Joseph with the Baby Christ" (Moscow, Pushkin Museum), we see how Joseph hugging Christ amuses him with a flowering branch. Murillo always willingly painted scenes with Joseph.
True, the artist also had other children’s images - not beautiful and happy, but haggard, pale, sick and unhappy. Such children can be seen in canvases on the topic of giving alms. But Murillo tried to avoid unnecessarily tragic scenes; they did not work out too well for him. In the work “The Crucifixion” (St. Petersburg, Hermitage), the body of Jesus stands out against a dark gray background of clouds, the Son of God is calm and beautiful. Mary, John and Mary Magdalene, standing at the foot of the cross, are young and beautiful.
The large-format canvas “The Death of Inquisitor Pedro Arbues”, also belonging to the Hermitage collection, was commissioned by the tribunal of the Seville Inquisition. Pedro Arbués de Epila, who lived in the late 15th century, was the inquisitor of Aragon under the Catholic kings Ferdinand and Isabella, who founded the Inquisition in Spain. Aragon in those days enjoyed a number of privileges and some liberties. The harsh statutes of the Inquisition, especially the confiscation of all the property of the convicts, caused unrest among the Aragonese nobles, who ultimately decided to kill Arbues in the hope that the king would be scared and would not send him a replacement.
The Spanish nobleman Juan de la Abadia led the murder, while the young Vidal de Uranso and Juan de Esperaindeo, who wanted to avenge close people executed by the Inquisition, became performers. The murder took place on September 15, 1485, right in the cathedral of Zaragoza. One late evening, when Arbuez stood kneeling in front of the altar, de Esperaindeo stabbed him in the arm with a sword, and de Uranso, warned that the formidable and hated inquisitor wears chain mail under his clothes and protects his head with armor, thrust a dagger into his neck.
All participants in the conspiracy were tortured. Arbuesu was erected a grand tomb, and later, elevated to the rank of saint. Murillo knew all the circumstances of the murder and accurately reproduced them in the picture, but despite the beautifully painted figures, the beautiful transition of halftone chiaroscuro in the darkened cathedral, the faces of the participants are too dry and inexpressive, and the postures are too theatrical.
Work for the Caridad Hospital
One of the most famous series of paintings by Murillo was a cycle of eleven works (1671-1674), performed for the Caridad Hospital, located in Seville. The hospital belonged to a fraternity founded in 1578, created for the burial of executed, unknown and drowned. The Brotherhood founded a large chapel dedicated to St. George, which occupied part of a large room in the territory of the shipyard in Seville. In the same place in 1664 a small hospital was set up, the entrance to which was decorated with an inscription ending with the words: "… the house of the poor and the staircase to heaven."
Living at the same time as Muirlo, don Miguel Manyara Vicentele de Leka, a knight of the Order of Calatrava, rebuilt the old one and built a new large hospital in which he treated the sick, buried the dead, fed the hungry with free soup and provide other forms of mercy. Manyara himself was a very interesting figure, however, characteristic of his time. A rake, a life-burner, a participant in orgies and murders, he once feared the sermons of the clergy, threatening not only the afterlife with the final judgment, but also the earthly court of the Inquisition. There is a legend according to which Manyara dreamed about his funeral, after which he repented of his sins and even bequeathed to bury him not in the Caridad church itself, but under a stove at its entrance, so that everyone would trample his grave with his feet. Manyara suggested Murillo write for the hospital eleven paintings glorifying mercy.All plots were drawn from the Bible, the Gospel, and later legends of saints. The most famous works of this series were “Moses Carving Water from the Rock” (Seville, Caridad), “Christ Heals Paralysis” (London, National Gallery) and “St. Elizabeth, the Queen of Hungary, treats the sick ”(Madrid, Prado).
The painting “The Liberation of the Apostle Peter from Prison” (St. Petersburg, Hermitage), painted for Caridad, is distinguished by an unusual interpretation of the cut-off solution. The artist set out to most reliably depict a light source in a darkened room. Radiant radiance emanates from the head of an angel, illuminating the wall, making it almost invisible, as if permeated by a game of grayish-silver tones, interspersed with pinkish shades. To the left of the figures of the dormant soldiers, another light source is shown - a tiny golden candlelight that sparingly illuminates the black silhouette of a halberd, the red cloak of one of the soldiers and an iron ring screwed into the wall. And here Murillo remained true to himself: the prisoner depicted is a handsome old man with a calm face, not expressing emotions.
At the same time, for the hospital, Caridad wrote another artist who also came from Seville - Juan Valdes Leal, who carried out the order of Miguel Manyara. The work of Valdes Leal was diametrically opposed to the art of Murillo. Being a talented painter, perfectly mastering the color, Valdez Leal preferred to paint gloomy paintings, imbued with tragedy, mysticism and passionate dynamics. In his works, we see figures in a fit of restlessness, restless glare of light alternating with running shadows, the combination of colors, although elegant, but overly sharp.
An example is two of his most famous paintings, written for Caridid - "Hieroglyphs of Death" and "The End of Earthly Glory." In the first, he depicted a skeleton with a scythe, walking along crowds, books and weapons that were no longer needed, extinguishing the fire of a smoldering candle with bony fingers, in the second he showed a terrible picture of the decomposition of the corpses of a knight and a bishop, with a mysterious hand holding scales over them. Typical of Valdes Leal and the work "Portrait of Manyara." Manyara sits at the table, pointing to the crucifix with a slightly theatrical gesture of his hand. A boy with a book, dressed in dark monastic clothes, settled down on a low bench on the left. The pale child put a finger to his lips, symbolizing, thus, a vow of eternal silence and humility.
But the differences in the work of artists were determined not only by their personalities and characters, but also by the complexity of the conflicting art of the end of the "golden age" of Spanish culture. Valdez Leal reflected in his work an aristocratic reaction to realism, which included mystical horror of the afterlife. Esteban Murillo also loved life in its most diverse manifestations. His work is connected with the best traditions of the national Spanish art of the heyday. He strove with all his might for the truthful transfer of the environment and was deeply sincere in this effort. An observant painter, he could not help but notice the contrasts of Seville - the wealth of the church and the nobility and poverty of the people. All this is reflected in his creations. At the same time, he was the son of his time, realizing that the conditions had changed, therefore,the poetization of images and the decorativeness of the composition often replaced the depth of content and expressiveness characteristic of old masters.
The artist died from an accident. While painting the Capuchin monastery in Cadiz, Murillo fell from high forests. In serious condition, he was transported home to Seville, where he died from his injuries in April 1682.
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