The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters


Search:: Artists Alphabetically   Symbolism   50 Greatest Paintings   Art Movements

Bartolome Esteban Murillo


Spanish Baroque Painter

Stylistically influenced by the following painters and art styles ; - Tintoretto, Titian  Paolo Veronese, and Diego Velázquez

Studied und Juan del Castillo

Mediums - painting

Cause of Death - Old Age


The intense emotionalism and spirituality of Bartolome Esteban Murillo's paintings mark him as one supreme painters of the Spain. The prevailing characteristic of his work being intense colour and spatial inventiveness. Murillo's figures express spontaneous, unfettered joyfulness--passionate emotions that are not contrived or distracted.  His work is bold, exploratory and intense.  He explored in his  art a new world of emotion and passion, but with a lyricism and profound sensitivity to color.
According to noted art historian and Murillo biographer, Jennie Ellis Keysor  "Through the greater part of Murillo’s life he painted for his beautiful Seville. In 1680, however, he went to Cadiz to paint pictures for the Capuchins at that place. He began on the largest one of the number. It was to represent the marriage of St. Catherine, a favorite subject of the time. Events proved that this was to be his last picture, for, while trying to reach the upper part of it, he fell from the scaffolding, receiving injuries from which he died two years later. Gradually his physical power deserted him until he did not attempt to paint at all. Then he spent much of his time in religious thought. In the church of Santa Cruz near by his home, was a picture of the “Descent from the Cross ” by Campana. Before this picture he spent [95]many hours, so much did he admire it. One evening he remained later than usual. The Angelus had sounded, and the Sacristan wished to close the church. He asked the painter why he lingered so long. He responded, “I am waiting until those men have brought the body of our blessed Lord down the ladder.” When Murillo died he was buried, according to his wish, immediately under this picture.

He died in April, 1682. His funeral was of the sort that draws all classes—a beloved man and a profound genius had passed away. His grave was covered with a stone slab on which were carved but few words beside his name. The church was destroyed during the French wars, and the Plaza of Santa Cruz occupies its place. In later years a statue of bronze was erected in one of the squares of the city in honor of Murillo; there it stands, through all changes, the very master spirit of the city.


Changes in Society

The newly emerging painting techniques and styles were a reflection of the transformation that was taking place in Europe, the change from the medieval period to a more enlightened, tolerant society. Artists of the Renaissance were elevated in social standing and their art was no longer looked upon as simple handicrafts, but as divinely inspired creations. The spirit of an era awoke, revitalized with knowledge and creativity. The major painters of the Renaissance were not only artists but men of great genius who gave the world their great intellectual gifts. Florentine and Venetian painting were both formed by extraordinary personalities. These men tackled mathematical, artistic and philosophical problems of the highest interest, and presented solutions that have never lost their value. Leonardo da Vinci asserted "In dealing with a scientific problem, I first arrange several experiments, and then show with reasons why such an experiment must necessarily operate in this and in no other way. This is the method which must be followed in all research upon the phenomenon of nature. We must consult experience in the variety of cases and circumstances until we can draw from them a general rule that is contained in them. And for what purposes are these rules good? They lead us to further investigations of nature and to creations of art. They prevent us from deceiving ourselves and others by promising results which are not obtainable."

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists,  sfumato, chiaroscuro, Savonarola, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscript,  idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, illuminator,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and  light,  Bonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.


Require more facts and information about the painter Bartolome Esteban Murillo? Poke around every nook and cranny of the known universe for information this subject. Search Here

© If you like this page and wish to share it, you are welcome to link to it, with our thanks.

If you feel you have worthwhile information you would like to contribute we would love to hear from you. We collect essential biographical information and artist quotes from folks all over the globe and appreciate your participation. When submitting please, if possible, site the source and provide English translation. Email to



reference  Great Artists, Vol 1. Raphael, Rubens, Murillo, and Durer by Jennie Ellis Keysor