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Masterpieces

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The Virgin with the Child Jesus and the Child Saint John the Baptist

Francisco de Zurbarán

Fuente de Cantos, Badajoz, 1598-Madrid, 1664

The Virgin with the Child Jesus and the Child Saint John the Baptist

Oil on canvas, 169 x 127 cm

1662

Acquired in 1940

The Virgin with the Child Jesus and the Child Saint John the Baptist is one of the most important works painted by Zurbarán two years before his death. This composition reveals the evolution of his style in Madrid, where he had private patrons and his works differed considerably from those made in his workshop in Seville, where he relied on the collaboration of assistants. Here Zurbarán expresses himself freely and more personally, giving the best of himself, as exemplified by the tender intimate atmosphere of the composition and by the attention paid to certain elements such as the pewter plate bearing apples and pears and the nuances of the lamb’s wool, that bear witness to his talent for the still life genre. As in other compositions, the wise use of prints by Dürer—the famous The Virgin and Child with a Monkey, to be precise—helped Zurbarán capture the inflection of the head of the Virgin and her hand on the book, as well as the position of the Child. In addition, the painting reveals the artist’s skilful rendering of the folds of material and the soft treatment of the face of the Virgin, infused with melancholy as she senses the suffering of her son. [B.N.P.]

The Virgin with the Child Jesus and the Child Saint John the Baptist

Masterpieces