Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682) : paintings from American
Stratton, Suzanne L.
Publisher: H.N. Abrams, in association with the
Kimbell Art Museum,
Pub date: 2002.
Mueillo’s paintings for the church of the Hospital de la Caridad in
Seville, completed between 1667 and 1670, represent, as an ensemble,
his acknowledged masterpiece.
The ravenous appetite of foreign collectors for works by Murillo led
the conde de Floridablanca to decree on October 5, 1779, on orders from
King Carlos III, an absolute embargo on the exportation of his works
from Spain. (p73)
In 1810 the “intruder king” Joseph Bonaparte ordered the pictures
gathered for safekeeping in the old Alcàzer of Seville, whence
they were intended to be sent to the Louvre. Five of those
paintings were “conveyed” to Paris by Marshal-General Soult in 1812,
but they were installed in his house, not the Louvre. (p148)
However, Spanish paintings in French collections were rarities until
the Peninsular War, when French troops removed hundreds of works from
churches and monasteries of Spain to France. The French Republic
legitimized the artistic plunder of its generals, even lending it an
altruistic gloss: “The French Republic, on account of its
strength, the superiority of its intellectuals and its artists, is the
only country in the world that can provide a secure exile for these
Soult efficiently amassed 180 Spanish paintings, including twenty of
Murillo’s finest works. He was aided by two contemporary works
which listed site by site, and city by city the finest paintings in
Spain. P 92-93
Painting in Spain, 1650-1700, from North American collections
Sullivan, Edward J. and Mallory, Nina A.
Publisher: The Art Museum, Princeton University in
association with Princeton University Press,
Pub date: c1982.
In footnote says the Immaculate Conception painting at the Prado
attained the somewhat dubious distinction of fetching the highest price
ever paid for a work of art at auction until the recent explosion of
the art market in our own century. It was sold for 615,300 francs
From The Catholic Encyclopedia
Article on Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Online edition found at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10644a.htm
Murillo has treated this theme more than twenty times, without
repeating himself or ever wearying: six versions at Madrid, six others
at Seville, the famous Louvre picture (dated 1678), and still others
scattered over Europe -- all these did not exhaust the painter's
enthusiasm or his power of expressing apotheosis.
(This encyclopedia was published before the painting went home to Spain)