A few weeks ago I found a very interesting article on Wikipedia, that I think you should all read. Yes, you too DunCon. Actually you in particular, as I expect you’d like to know more about your new neighbourhood 😉
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Seville, December 31, 1617 – Cádiz, April 3, 1682) was a Spanish painter, one of the most important figures in Baroque painting in Spain. He excelled in the painting of light clouds, flowers, water, and drapery, and in the use of color.
Murillo was born in Seville, the youngest son in a family of fourteen. His father was a barber and surgeon called Gaspar Esteban, and his mother’s name was María Pérez Murillo; it was her name which he used to sign his work. His parents died when he was still very young, and Murillo was largely brought up by one of his older sisters, Ana, who was married to another barber-surgeon, Juan Agustín de Lagares, with whom the young Murillo maintained a close relationship. Murillo married Beatriz Cabrera in 1648, and they had nine children.
Murillo began his art studies under Juan del Castillo in Seville. Murillo became familiar with Flemish painting; the great commercial importance of Seville at the time ensured that he was also subject to influences from other regions. His first works were influenced by Zurbarán, Jusepe de Ribera and Alonso Cano, and he shared their strongly realist approach. 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.
In 1642, at the age of 26 he moved to Madrid, where he became a pupil of Velasquez. He returned to Seville in 1645. In that year, he painted thirteen canvases for the monastery of St. Frances the Great in Seville which gave his reputation a well-deserved boost. Following the completion of a pair of pictures for the Seville Cathedral, he began to specialise 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 was involved in the founding of the Academy of Art in Seville, sharing its direction, in 1660, with the architect, Francisco Herrera el Mozo. This was his period of greatest activity, and he received numerous important commissions, among them the altar piece for the Augustinian monastery, the paintings for Santa María la Blanca (completed in 1665), and others.
Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children. These lively, realist portraits of flower girls, street urchins, and beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times