A great master of sentimental religious paintings, Bartolome Esteban Murillo received his brief artistic training from Juan de Castillo, but when his master moved to Cadiz, Murillo scraped a living by painting cheap religious daubs, hawked at public fairs. It was an inauspicious start for the man who would be a co-founder of the Seville Academy in 1660 and became its first president.
Bartolome Esteban Murillo's career took off in 1648 when he went to Madrid and met his fellow townsman Diego Velasquez, who not only helped him but also introduced his work to the royal court. During Spains Golden Century, the Siglo de Oro, many of the great masters were from the Seville School, including Zurban and Valdes Leal, but each painter expressed his own vision of the world, thus reflecting the range of emotions in Spanish Baroque art. Many of his earlier paintings were portraits of Franciscan saints, executed for the Franciscan monastery in Seville, but he went on to produce many works of a more general religious nature.
Besides his devout religious works, Murillo also produced many genre subjects, these lively, realist portraits of beggars, street urchins, fruit sellers and other aspects of low life which reflect the hardships of his youth. Many times, he painted important images of the daily life of ordinary people, whom he generally portrays with amused sympathy using a refined technique, as in the Two Women at a Window, constituting an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times. Seventeenth-century Spanish painting offers a touching image of dreams and life, of illusion and reality.
He died from injuries sustained in a fall from scaffolding while painting the altarpiece at Cadiz in 1682. Bartolomé Esteban Murillo had many pupils and followers. Murillo's works were constantly copied and reproduced, ensuring his fame and reputation in Spain and throughout Europe, and prior the Nineteenth century, his work was more known than that of any other Spanish artist, including Goya or Velasquez.
Art Movement History: Baroque Art.
Artists Influencing Bartolome Murillo: Juan del Castillo, Diego Velázquez.
He Traveled To France.
Painters Bartolome Esteban Murillo Influenced: Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Thomas Gainsborough.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.