Saint Thomas of Villanueva Giving Alms to the Poor

Bartolomé-Esteban Murillo (Spanish, 1617-1682)
Oil on canvas 
52-1/8 x 30 in. (132.4 x 76.2 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
Not on View

Bartolomé-Esteban Murillo imbued his many religious paintings with a simple piety and serene beauty. The artist’sconception and treatment of sacred themes, particularly his employment of a cool palette and feathery brushwork, attracted local and foreign patrons alike. Long before his canonization, the Augustinian friar St. Thomas de Villanueva (1488-1555), was venerated for his many acts of charity. This painting formed part of an altarpiece, representing scenes from the life of the Saint, commissioned by the Monastery of St. Augustin. Surviving pictures from this altarpiece include St. Thomas Healing the Cripple, Munich, Alte Pinakothek; The Youthful St. Thomas Distributing Alms, Cincinnati Art Museum; and St. Thomas Receiving the News of his Impending Death, Seville, Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes.


Commissioned August 30, 1664 by the Capuchin Monastery of St. Augustin for the Cavalieri Chapel dedicated to St. Thomas Villanueva, Seville; expropriated in 1835 (the “desamortización;”)
[Baron Taylor (and Adrien Dauzats?)] for;
King Louis Philippe, Galerie Espagnole, Paris, by 1838 (sale, London, Christie’s, 21 May 1853, lot 498 for gs. 710 to);
Graves, for[?];
Thomas Baring (uncle of Lord Northbrook); by descent in the
Northbrook collection, London, by 1889, sold sometime between 1919 and 1926.
[Ehrich Gallery, New York, by 1931].
Dr. Philip O. Cole;
Parlex Corporation, New York.
[Frederick Mont, New York, sold 7 November 1972 to]
Norton Simon Foundation

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