The Prodigal Son by Murillo and the art of narrating in the Andalusian Baroque period

The Prado Museum is organising an exhibition from 21 September to 23 January 2022 on the pictorial works of the main artists from the Andalusian Baroque period:  Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Antonio del Castillo, Juan Valdés Leal and Alonso Cano.

The exhibition is curated by Javier Portús, Head of Conservation of Spanish Painting (up until 1800) at the Prado National Museum, with the collaboration of the National Gallery in Dublin (Ireland), as well as loans from institutions, such as the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Fine Arts Museum in Asturias, the Fine Arts Museum in Seville, the Spanish National Library and The Barber Institute for Fine Arts in Birmingham (United Kingdom).

In this way, it is highlighted how peculiar canvases were created in the middle decades of the 17th century, telling a story of biblical or hagiographic origin  or the stages of a biographic episode, whilst reflecting on the creator himself in his cultural and religious facets.

To delve further into this, three of the best conserved sets have been brought together: the series of the Prodigal Son parable by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, the series on the history of José de Antonio del Castillo and the series devoted to the life of Saint Ambrose by Valdés Leal. These pieces are joined by others by diverse artists that belong to series that are incomplete today or are dispersed but are related to the previous ones either due to the story symbolised, its composition, chronology, size or degree of self-representation.

Image Credit:

Detail of The Prodigal Son Feasting, 1660 Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Oil on Canvas. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

Detalle de La disipación del hijo pródigo, h.1660. Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Óleo sobre lienzo. Photo ©️ National Gallery of Ireland

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