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After Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Birth of the Virgin

Key facts
Full title The Birth of the Virgin
Artist After Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Artist dates 1617 - 1682
Date made after 1804
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 26.6 × 45.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Lord Savile, 1888
Inventory number NG1257
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Birth of the Virgin
After Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

This is a nineteenth-century copy of a much larger painting made by Murillo for Seville Cathedral in 1660 (Louvre, Paris). During the French occupation of Seville, Murillo’s painting was moved to Paris, where this copy was probably produced around 1810.

In his painting, Murillo explored the theme of the Virgin Mary’s infancy. Here, we see her in a domestic setting, as a newborn baby being taken out of the bath. Several women and angels gaze affectionately at the infant and angels descend from heaven – two are already on the ground, removing a towel from a wicker basket. The Virgin’s mother, Saint Anne, lies in a canopied bed and her father, Saint Joachim, is seated nearby.

The work we see here is very sketchy and does not reproduce every detail of the original composition. It is rather accomplished as a copy, even though we do not know who painted it.

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