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Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Portrait of Don Justino de Neve

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Don Justino de Neve
Artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Artist dates 1617 - 1682
Date made 1665
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 206 × 129.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1979
Inventory number NG6448
Location Room 30
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of Don Justino de Neve
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

This is an affectionate portrayal of one of Murillo’s most devoted patrons, Don Justino de Neve. The inscribed tablet on the wall reveals that the portrait was made in 1665 and was a gift from the artist – a gesture of friendship.

Murillo’s regard for his friend is obvious in the way he presents him: Justino appears intelligent and welcoming, and while his formal pose indicates his status he is not intimidating. Dressed in a black ecclesiastical cloak, he leans forward as if momentarily interrupted from prayer. The objects on the table relate to his scholarly interests and wealth; a devoted dog sits at his feet.

A well-respected churchman, Justino became a canon of Seville Cathedral in 1658. He secured an important commission for Murillo: a series of canvases for the church of Santa María la Blanca. This portrait may have been painted to show the artist’s gratitude.

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