Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Oil on canvas, 148 x 104 cm
Deposited by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, after dation by BBVA in 2000
This pathetic image of St Peter repented of his denial of Christ, according to the story in the Gospels, was attributed to Ribera on account of its naturalism and the tenebrist lighting that makes the figure stand out against a dark uniform background. Nonetheless, it has been unanimously recognised as the work of the Sevillian painter Murillo, dated relatively early in his production, around the years 1650-1655, when Ribera exerted a strong but mellow influence over the former. The disposition of the figure creates the effect of a slightly downward diagonal from right to left, and the ashlar on which the book and the keys are placed relate the work to other compositions such as Ribera’s Saint Jerome in The Cleveland Museum of Art, of roughly the same period. The face, expressing restrained pathos, expresses grief and hope very well, while the materials, with rounded pleats, are characteristic of the time the work was probably painted. Twenty years later Murillo tackled the same theme again in a canvas for the Hospital of the Venerables in Seville, today kept in the Townsend Collection in Newick. This version was similarly inspired in Ribera but painted in the artist’s more diaphanous style of 1678, year in which the work has been dated after Ponz and Ceán Bermúdez, who apparently had access to documentation on the subject. This is a significant work among those produced in the mid-seventeenth century, when Murillo was gradually moving away from Tenebrism towards greater expressive freedom. While the composition is indebted to the standing figures of saints painted by Zurbarán, Murillo’s sensitivity has little in common with the austerity of the Estremaduran artist and his pictures of saints, with their delicate and free-flowing technique, are the very expression of holiness. [A.E.P.S.]
Independently of its permanent collection, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum regularly organises temporary exhibition programmes.
Please consult the exhibition calendar for more information about the museum's latest proposals.
Usually classed as a realist painter, Antonio López (born in Tomelloso in 1936) is one of the most idiosyncratic artists at work in Spain after the Civil War. From the 1950s, he has produced drawings, engravings, paintings and sculptures, fashioning an oeuvre of a remarkable technical virtuosity that somehow seems outside time, despite focusing on the realistic representation of living beings and objects. López’s iconographic repertoire always springs from the reality of the visual world and oscillates between scenes of intimacy and the vast outdoors: portraits, still life works, interiors and domestic objects jostle with broad panoramic views.
In 1992 film director Víctor Erice shot the extraordinary El sol del membrillo (The Quince Sun), which concentrates on Antonio López’s creative process, on the intensity with which the artist contemplates objects. This act of rapt attention gives the film a halo of silence and a sensation of time suspended, which moves the viewer to a similar state of meditative absorption. the painter’s highly distinctive use of light contributes enormously to the dreamlike, metaphysical atmosphere, to the suggestion of the visible as a door, slightly ajar, to the invisible.
Despite his realist style, Antonio López has shaped an oeuvre independent from the other, more recent European realist or naturalist trends and from American hyperrealism. What he seeks in the reality that surrounds him are the quotidian aspects that awaken his interest; he works slowly and painstakingly towards his goal of capturing the essence of the sitter or of the objects or the land- and cityscapes portrayed. Curated by historian Guillermo Solana, art director at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, and the artist' s daughter María López, the exhibition will include a very complete overview of the oeuvre of Spanish artist Antonio López.
The selection of around 130 works, oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, represent his most recurrent themes: interiors, where the fantastic and emotive irrupt into daily life, the human figure, landscapes and the famous cityscapes of Madrid and Tomelloso, and his fruit compositions.Although works dated between 1949 and 2010 will be on show, the project concentrates largely on his output from the last two decades, which will include signature works like his earliest, slightly surreal family portraits, the legendary view of Madrid’s Gran Vía and the drawings of his studio. But attention will also be paid to more recent works, some of which are still unfinished and, logically, as yet unseen.
The exhibition as a whole will highlight the slow, meditative process by which Antonio López, one of today’s leading and most admired Spanish artists, arrives at his art.
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09|23|14 • 01|12|15
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THE GUEST WORK
10|15|14 • 01|12|15
THE GUEST WORK
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