Murillo, a native of Seville, was a generation younger than Zurbarán and Velazquez. Immensely popular throughout Spain and Europe, he was often called the "Spanish Raphael" for his sweet, idealized Madonnas and the softness and delicacy of his modelling. The characters in this painting are portrayed naturalistically yet retain the ideal, innate grace and elegance that are consistent with Murillo's figures from the late 1640s on. His modeling is solid yet handled with a painterly touch. Although this work displays a strong chiaroscuro, the general effect is one of luminosity: the darks are not so opaque, the lights are strong and the colors are saturated.
- Artist Name: Bartolomé-Esteban Murillo (Spanish, 1617-1682)
- Title: The Birth of St. John the Baptist
- Date: c. 1655
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 57-3/4 x 74-1/8 in. (146.7 x 188.3 cm)
- Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number: F.1973.38.P
- Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation
Sir Henry Fitzherbert, 3rd bt. (1783-1858), and by descent to;
Sir William Fitzherbert, 4th bt. (1808-1896);
Sir Richard Fitzherbert, 5th bt. (1846-1906);
Sir Hugo Meynell Fitzherbert, 6th bt. (1872-1934);
Sir William Fitzherbert, 7th bt. (1874-1963);
Sir John Richard Frederick FitzHerbert, 8th bt. (1913-1976), sold May, 1966 to;
[Wildenstein and Co., Inc., New York], to;
The Norton Simon Foundation.
Art Treasures Centenary: European Old Masters
- Manchester, City Art Gallery, 1957-10-30 to 1957-12-31
- Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 45
- Rosalie J. Slater, The Family and the Nation: Biblical Childhood, p. 71
- A Catalogue of some of the pictures at Tissington Hall, the Seat of Sir William Fitzherbert, Baronet,no. 9 p. 7
- Valdivieso, Enrique, Murillo: Catalogo Razonado de Pinturas,2010, Fig. 344 p. 507
- Waterhouse, Ellis K., The Burlington Magazine,
- Various authors, edited by Mark Rogián, Spanish Art in America,2016, p.192 ; p. 190 (ill.), p. 192 (ill.)
- Íñiguez, Diego Angulo, Murillo,vol. I, p. 303; vol. II, no. 336; vol. III, pls. 166-167
- Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1003 p. 361
- Sullivan, Edward J. and Nancy A. Mallory, Painting in Spain 1650-1700 from North American Collections,fig. 50
- Jesse Locker, "La suavidad de Artemisa": reflections on the reception of Artemisia Gentileschi in Spain,2022, Image 10 pp. 68-84, p. 78 (ill.)
- Young, Eric, The Connoisseur,No. 10, fig. 8 pp. 183-185
- Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America,1979, p. 201
- Kimbell Art Museum, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682): Paintings from American Collections,fig. 13 p. 23
Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.
Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.
Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.