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Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Self Portrait

Key facts
Full title Self Portrait
Artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Artist dates 1617 - 1682
Date made about 1670
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 122 × 107 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1953
Inventory number NG6153
Location Room 30
Collection Main Collection
Self Portrait
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Murillo has painted himself inside a fictive frame, his right hand emerging from the stone surround as if he were coming alive and entering our space.

This self portrait was probably painted in about 1670, when Murillo was in his early fifties – his hairline is receding and his moustache turning grey. He is dressed in black, with a delicate lace white collar known in Spain as a valona. He looks out at us, his pose both relaxed and self-assured.

The objects laid out on the ledge below – a palette and brushes, a red chalk drawing, a chalk holder, a ruler and compass – tell us that Murillo is an artist. The Latin inscription reveals that he painted this self portrait to ‘fulfil the wishes and prayers’ of his children.

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