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Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Seville 1618-1682)
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Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Seville 1618-1682)

The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist

Details
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Seville 1618-1682)
The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist
oil on canvas
11½ x 8¾ in. (29.8 x 22.4 cm.)
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

We are grateful to Professor Enrique Valdivieso for confirming the attribution having seen the picture in the orginal.

This tender and spontaneous work is a sketch for Murillo's composition (156 x 126 cm.) of the same subject, that was formerly in the Esterházy collection and is now in the Szépmüvészeti Muzeum, Budapest. Angulo notes that the Budapest picture's quality 'no es excelente' and suggests the possibility of the existence of another, unrecorded finished picture (D. Angulo Iñiguez, Murillo, Madrid, 1981, II, p. 179, no. 196, and III, pl. 307). Previous commentators considered the Budapest canvas to be early, until Meller ('Spagnyol festök' in Müveszet, VI, 1907, p. 58) placed it in circa 1660-1670, a date with which Mayer, Pigler and Angulo have all broadly concurred.

The Budapest picture differs in small ways to this sketch. Most notable is the addition of a sloping roof and pediment which replaces the arch to the left of the sketch, as well as the removal of the tree at the right edge to further back in the composition. The small basket filled with a white cloth has been slightly adjusted too.

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