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Wallace Collection presents Murillo at the Wallace Collection. Painting of the Spa

The Wallace Collection presents Murillo at the Wallace Collection. Painting of the Spanish Golden Age on view 6th February, 2013 through 12th May, 2013.

Bartolome-Esteban Murillo, The Marriage of the Virgin, c.1660-1670.

The Wallace Collection houses one of Britain’s most important collections of paintings by the seventeenth-century Spanish artist, Bartolomé Estebán Murillo, with eight masterpieces and several by his workshop and associates, Francisco Meneses Osorio and Juan Simón Gutiérrez. They were all acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford, and epitomise the ‘pleasing’ pictures he so favoured. This special display is timed to coincide with the exhibition, Murillo and Justino de Neve. The Art of Friendship being held at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. It reunites for the first time in over two hundred years the Wallace Collection paintings with a rarely-seen loan, which together formed part of one of his important cycles.

Recently major museums have begun to re-appraise Murillo, who was much revered throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, when his work was eagerly bought by French and British connoisseurs. However, from the mid nineteenth century, his fame began to decline culminating for many in the twentieth century view of his art as unfashionably sentimental, an appropriate decoration for chocolate boxes. Recent books and exhibitions on the artist have all helped to restore the painter’s reputation and cement his important position within the European Baroque.

Murillo was equally famous for his paintings of both religious and everyday life, but all of those purchased by the 4th Marquess were of religious subjects. In these devotional paintings Murillo powerfully communicates the human emotions of his subjects, while at the same time endowing them with great beauty and grace. Such scenes as the Annunciation and the Adoration are a fusion of earth and Heaven, a powerful intermingling of grace and humanity.These simple but powerful works convey a spiritual calm and wonder today, just as they would have done in the turbulent times in which they were painted.

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