Now largely overlooked, 17th-century Spanish painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was once the most famous – and expensive – artist in the world.
Curated by Xavier Bray, Dulwich Picture Gallery are staging the first exhibition in decades dedicated to this Baroque master (February 6 – May 19), with an accompanying catalogue – we are the very happy to say – published by ourselves.
Murillo’s work often depicts women and children of Seville (Murillo had Seville in his bones. He is only recorded as having left his native city once in his life, in 1658 – and then only to travel to Madrid), as well as elegantly handled religious subjects as a result of being the patron of Justino de Neve, the wealthy canon of Seville Cathedral.
The paintings of Murillo may slowly be coming back into fashion. As Xavier Bray thinks, the show will prompt a reassessment of Murillo that is long overdue. ‘There can be no question of his quality as a painter, he is an absolute master. But it is time to ask again about his position in the history of art – a bit kitsch, or one of the greats?’
To help you decide, here’s a selection of his works from the book. Just click on a thumbnail to begin the slideshow.