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Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and studio, 'The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin', 17th century

Key facts
Full title The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin
Artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and studio
Artist dates 1617 - 1682
Date made 17th century
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 211 × 126 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Joseph Trueman Mills, 1924
Inventory number NG3910
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and studio

Surrounded by angels, a graceful and ethereal Virgin Mary crosses her hands over her breast and gazes heavenwards. She wears a white garment and a swirling blue cloak.

The scene is bathed in a mellow light, and the Virgin is surrounded by a golden haze of clouds into which angels seem to dissolve. The tip of a crescent moon is visible beneath her feet, a symbol associated with images of the Immaculate Conception (the belief that the Virgin was conceived without sin).

Once thought to be by an imitator of Murillo, cleaning work carried out in 1980 revealed a picture of higher quality and the possible participation of the master himself. The lower angels, with expressive hands, twisted bodies and energetic movement, are among the best parts; they are more likely to be by Murillo.

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