- Museum number
St Anthony of Padua and the miracle of the resurrection of the assassinated man
Pen and brown ink and brown wash over black chalk
- Production date
Height: 345 millimetres
Width: 265 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Modified text from McDonald 2013
In 1645–6 Murillo received his first and last commission for a cycle of paintings, eleven works depicting miracles or episodes from lives of the Franciscans for the claustro chico of the convent of San Francisco el Grande in Seville (D. Angulo Íñiguez, 'Murillo. Su vida, su arte, su obra', Madrid 1981, I, pp.243–63, II nos. 1–13, pp.3–18). A number of paintings for the commission survive as well as their preparatory drawings that provide a benchmark for defining Murillo's early style. A painting showing the miracle represented in this drawing was not included in the series, but its subject and technique links it to the commission.
The drawing has traditionally been identified as representing the miracle of the irascible son in which St Anthony re-attached the limb of young man who severed his leg after kicking his mother. Manuela Mena Marqués has however identified its subject as relating to the miracle of Saint Anthony in favour of his father who was injustly accused in Lisbon of killing a young man and condemned to death. Thanks to a revelation, Anthony, who was preaching in Padua, was transported to Lisbon where he convinced the judge of his father’s innocence by resurrecting the murdered man who was then able to reveal the identity of the real murderer. Standing at left is the forlorn father in chains, in the centre the saint speaking with the man brought back to life and at right a figure throwing his arms in the air at witnessing the miracle.
Little is known about Murillo's early years and the apprenticeship that he is thought to have served under Juan del Castillo to whom few drawings have been attributed. More significantly, Francisco Pacheco, Francisco de Herrera the Elder and Alonso Cano were all active in Seville when Murillo was serving his apprenticeship, and elements of their work can be detected in his drawing. This sheet demonstrates how important drawing was for Murillo a practice that he maintained and developed throughout his career. The entire composition and the architectural setting are described. Stylistically the drawing is very close to St Francis Solano, the preparatory sheet for another painting from the cycle (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts). Both sheets are around the same size and show solidly drawn figures, their form defined by wash. The classicism of the figures, link it to Italian Art. There is a marble relief by the sculptor Girolamo Campagna (1549-1625) made for the St Antony Basilic in Padova in 1577 that calls to mind; Murillo could have known it through prints.
It is not known why Murillo did not paint the miracle shown in this drawing. Jonathan Brown (2012) suggests that the monks might have changed their minds as the commission evolved; the painting of St Francis Solano was completed but not included in the cycle. If the Assassinated Man was intended as part of the cycle, its subject, set in Portugal, might explain why it was not included. The paintings Murillo completed have a particular Spanish emphasis and the monks might have preferred to concentrate on Franciscan episodes more identified with their native country despite the fact Anthony of Padua was one of the most well know Franciscan Saints.
Two preparatory drawings for surviving paintings are numbered 'III' and 'IIII', perhaps implying that Murillo created a sequence of studies for the cycle which have not survived. The British Museum drawing is not numbered, perhaps indicating that Murillo rejected it as a design at an early stage. The possibility that the British Museum sheet was for another work unrelated to the convent of San Francisco el Grande, cannot be dismissed.
The inscriptions along the bottom of the drawing in a later hand attribute it to Alonso Cano and identifies the saint. The attribution was possibly based on knowledge of the type of wash drawings Cano made in Seville early in his career before moving to Madrid that are however not as accomplished or fluid as the present sheet.
H.E.Wethey, 'Alonso Cano's drawings', Art Bulletin, 34, 1952, p.233 (as rejected Cano); J. Brown, 'Notes on Princeton Drawings 8: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo', Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, 32, 1973, p.30; J. Brown, 'Murillo and his Drawings', Princeton, 1976, cat.no. 5; 'Bartolomé Esteben Murillo: 1617-1682', exh.cat., Royal Academy London, 1983, cat.no.D2; 'Master Drawings and Watercolours in the British Museum', exh.cat., British Museum, 1984, cat.no.150; A.E. Pérez Sánchez & B. Navarrete, 'Tres siglos de dibujo Sevillano', exh.cat., Seville, 1995, cat.no.74; M. P. McDonald, 'Renaissance to Goya: Prints and drawings from Spain', exh.cat., British Museum, London 2012, p.148; J. Brown, 'Murillo: Virtuoso draftsman', New Haven and London, 2012, no.5; 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.31; M. Mena Marqués, 'Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682): dibujos: catálogo razonado', Santander 2015, no. 6.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1976 BM, Spanish Drawings, (no cat)
1982 Oct-Dec, Madrid, Museo del Prado, 'Murillo', no. D2
1983 Jan-Mar, London, Royal Academy, 'Murillo', no. D2
1984 BM, Master Drawings and Watercolours in the British Museum, no.150
1995/6 Nov-Feb, Seville, Hosp Venerables/Sacerdotes, Drawings in Seville, no.74
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