Madonna Nursing the Christ Child

Madonna Nursing the Christ Child

c. 1670

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

(Spanish, 1617-1682)

Pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash over red and black chalk, with traces of white, framing lines in brown ink

Support: Cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 21.4 x 15.4 cm (8 7/16 x 6 1/16 in.); Secondary Support: 24.1 x 18.5 cm (9 1/2 x 7 5/16 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Prasse Collection 1968.66


One of the finest of the rare drawings by Murillo, this sheet is a study for Virgin and Child, commissioned for the family chapel of the Marques de Santiago in Madrid and now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Prized today for their dynamism, Murillo’s drawings were not intended as finished works of art to be collected but served the practical purpose of working out the positions of the figures. Here, the artist suggested the tender bond between mother and child with the poignant connection of their gazes. His animated line and zigzag hatching communicate the immediacy of the moment.

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