BARTOLOMÉ ESTEBAN MURILLO (SEVILLE 1617-1682)
BARTOLOMÉ ESTEBAN MURILLO (SEVILLE 1617-1682)
BARTOLOMÉ ESTEBAN MURILLO (SEVILLE 1617-1682)
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BARTOLOMÉ ESTEBAN MURILLO (SEVILLE 1617-1682)
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BARTOLOMÉ ESTEBAN MURILLO (SEVILLE 1617-1682)

Saint Justa; and Saint Rufina

Details
BARTOLOMÉ ESTEBAN MURILLO (SEVILLE 1617-1682)
Saint Justa; and Saint Rufina
oil on canvas, laid down on panel
11 1/2 x 6 1/4 in. (29.2 x 16.1 cm)
(2)a pair
Provenance
Alejandro María Aguado y Remírez de Estenoz, 1st Marquess of Marismas del Guadalquivir (1784-1842), by 1841.
Dr Alfred Scharf, London.
Art market, Lucerne, 1980.
Literature
Catalogue des Tableaux des Écoles Espagnoles, Italiennes, Flamande, Hollandaise, Allemande, exposés dans la galerie du Marquis de las Marismas, Paris, 1841, p. 41, nos. 117 and 118.
D. Angulo Iñiguez, Murillo: su vida, su arte, su obra, Madrid, II, 1981, p. 278, nos. 349 and 350; III, pls. 228 and 229.
E. Valdivieso, Murillo: Catálogo Razonado de Pinturas, Madrid, 2010, pp. 106 and 381, nos. 167 and 168.
Sale room notice
Please note the Provenance and Literature for this pair should read as below and not as stated in the printed catalogue:

PROVENANCE
Art market, Lucerne, 1980.

LITERATURE
D. Angulo Iñiguez, Murillo: su vida, su arte, su obra, Madrid, II, 1981, p. 278, nos. 349 and 350; III, pls. 228 and 229.
E. Valdivieso, Murillo: Catálogo Razonado de Pinturas, Madrid, 2010, pp. 106 and 381, nos. 167 and 168.

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John Hawley
John Hawley Specialist

Lot Essay

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was the leading artist in Seville in the seventeenth century. Born and trained in the city, where he initially worked under Juan del Castillo, he received his first significant commission in 1645, for scenes illustrating the miracles of saints for the convent of San Francisco. In those works he blended the influence of Francisco de Herrera with the naturalism and tenebrism of the work of Zurbarán. In April 1658, he is recorded as being in Madrid for several months, where he befriended Diego Velázquez. As court painter to Philip IV, Velázquez was the key to the city’s most important collections, which included works by Titian, Rubens and van Dyck. These artists were to have a strong influence on his subsequent development: his monumental Birth of the Virgin, painted in 1660 for the Capilla de la Concepción in Seville Cathedral (now Musée du Louvre, Paris) shows how Murillo had absorbed the compositional grandeur and rich coloring of Venetian art, whilst maintaining a great sensitivity in his characterization.

Such influences can be seen in these two beautifully painted sketches of Saints Justa and Rufina, the patrons saints of Seville. They were sisters and potters by trade, working during the Roman Empire in the late third century. They declined to sell their wares for pagan worship, and were persecuted by locals as a result. In response, they smashed pagan statues and were promptly arrested and imprisoned on the order of the local prefect, Diogenianus. They refused to renounce their faith, and Justa died on the rack and Rufina was beheaded. The popularity of their cult meant they were frequently depicted by Spanish artists, often shown, as here, holding clay pots, or alcarrazas, and palms of martyrdom. Murillo painted the saints for the major commission for the convent of Capuchins in Seville, where they are shown holding the bell tower of the city’s cathedral, the Giralda (fig. 1; Museo de Bellas Artes, Seville), which escaped the earthquake of 1504 thanks, it was said, to the intervention of Justa and Rufina. That canvas, one of the artist’s celebrated masterpieces, was painted circa 1665-6 at the height of his career, at around the same time indeed as these bocetos were made. They were once part of the collection of the 1st Marquess of Marismas, a banker from Seville, who would go on to enter the French army and be exiled to Paris in 1815. He owned the renowned Château Margaux, and formed a significant collection of pictures, some of which were acquired by the French state after his death. The earlier provenance of the pair is not certain but a wax seal on the reverse of one panel bears the coat of arms of Jasper Scowles (1562-1619) of Wantage, Berkshire; it is possible that the pictures belonged to his descendants.

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