Skip to main content

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

1617 - 1682
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Image: Detail from Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Self Portrait, about 1670

Murillo was the leading painter in Seville in the later 17th century. He remained one of the most admired and popular of all European artists in the 18th and early 19th centuries. His early works were much influenced by the early works of Velázquez, executed before Velázquez left Seville in 1623, and by the paintings of Zurbarán.

Murillo's first famous cycle of paintings was produced for the cloister of the convent of San Francisco in Seville (1645). There followed paintings for the cathedral (1658), and a celebrated series for the church of the Caridad (1667-70), including the National Gallery's 'Christ healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda'.

Visits to Madrid (one certainly in 1658) would have made Murillo familiar with works by Rubens and Van Dyck and contemporary Italian painters. His style became increasingly free in its handling, as is apparent in his many well-known representations of the Immaculate Conception.

This person is the subject of ongoing research. We have started by researching their relationship to the enslavement of people.

Biographical notes

Spanish painter.

Slavery connections

Murillo sold one enslaved assistant, Juan de Santiago, in 1671. He owned another enslaved assistant, Sebastián Gómez, to whom Murillo gave his freedom.

Abolition connections

No known connections with abolition.

National Gallery painting connections

Painter: Murillo painted NG13, NG74, NG176, NG5931, NG6153, NG6448, NG3910 and NG3938.


History of Parliament Trust (ed.), The History of Parliament: British Political, Social & Local History, London 1964-,
Checked and not foundItem on publisher's website

C. Matthew et al. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford 1992-,
Checked and not foundItem on publisher's website

M. B. Mena Marqués, 'Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban', in J. Turner et al. (eds), Grove Art Online, Oxford 1998-,
Checked and foundItem on publisher's website

X.F. Salomon and L. Treves, Murillo: The Self-Portraits (exh. cat., The Frick Collection, New York; The National Gallery, London), New York 2017
Select bibliography

UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership, London 2020,
Checked and not foundItem on publisher's website