- Museum number
St Joseph kneeling before the Virgin and the Christ Child
- Production date
- 1665-1700 (c.)
Height: 403 millimetres
Width: 282 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Modified text from McDonald 2013
The profound influence that Murillo had on students from the academy in Seville and other artists working in his orbit can be gauged by the many surviving paintings and drawings in his style, and the large number of sheets inscribed with his name. Some of the inscriptions are contemporary with the drawing, whereas others seem to have been added by later owners. In either case they demonstrate the value of his name. On this sheet Murillo’s name is written over another that is impossible to read but perhaps the two are the same. The writing is not dissimilar to Murillo’s but it is not his hand.
Francisco Meneses Osorio was one of Murillo’s most faithful disciples. He was a member of the Seville Academy and when Murillo died in 1682, he used Murillo’s drawings to complete the commission of paintings for the high altar of the Capuchin convent church in Cádiz (S. Serra Giráldez, 'Francisco Meneses Osorio, discípulo de Murillo', Seville 1990, p.24). The verso of a drawing with pairs of putti by Murillo in the British Museum (1873,0614.212) might have been one of the sheets Meneses used because similar figures are found in the Mystical Marriage of St Catherine for Cádiz.
Meneses' work as a draughtsman is little understood and is not possible to attribute the British Museum drawing to him with absolute certainty. A drawing of the Virgin inscribed with his name in the Courtauld Institute, London appears to have been preparatory for his painting of the Assumption of the Virgin now in the Wallace Collection, London. Another drawing of the Immaculate Conception in the Apelles collection (London) also carries his name (Z. Véliz, 'Dibujos españoles del siglo de oro. The Apelles collection', exh. cat., Museo de bellas artes de Asturias, Ovideo 2002, no.40). The two are broadly similar, especially with regard to the elongated bodies of the putti rendered in sections, and might have been made at different times in his career. The British Museum drawing is closest to the Courtauld sheet, in particular the rendering of the swirling clouds and the evenly spaced parallel lines to suggest background. All three drawings reveal a debt to Murillo. Given there are so few drawings associated with Meneses, is not possible to establish their chronology. However, the present sheet strongly reflects Murillo’s mature style. It is likely that other sheets lurking under 'school of Murillo' will be given to him once the drawing styles of the master’s late followers is better understood.
M. P. McDonald, 'Renaissance to Goya: Prints and drawings from Spain', exh.cat., British Museum, London 2012, pP.152 & 154; M. P. McDonald, 'El trazo español en el British Museum: Dibujos del Renacimiento a Goya', exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 2013, cat.no.40.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012/13 Sept-Jan, London, British Museum, ‘Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain’
2013 March-June, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, ‘El trazo español en el British Museum …’
2013, Aug-Nov, Sydney, AGNSW, 'Renaissance to Goya'
2013-4, Dec-Mar, Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum of Modern Art, 'Renaissance to Goya'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number