“The Adoration of the Shepherds,” Bartolome Esteban Murillo – overview of the painting

“The Adoration of the Shepherds,” Bartolome Esteban Murillo – overview of the painting
“The Adoration of the Shepherds,” Bartolome Esteban Murillo - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Bartolome Esteban Murillo
  • Museum: Prado Museum
  • Year: 1646-1655

Overview of the painting :

The worship of the shepherds is Bartolome Esteban Murillo. 1646-1655.

   Murillo’s paintings are characterized by convincing naturalism similar to other famous Baroque artists, in particular Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Velazquez and Surbaran. The dramatic cutlet used by the aforementioned painters still testifies to Murillo’s youth. As the style developed, Bartolome threw away the painful realism of his predecessors in favor of a bright, soft, often sentimental sweetness. The author’s early style bears the seal of his teacher, Castello, and then the most popular artist in Seville, Surbarana.

During these years, Murillo uses a strong light, increased drama, and living naturalism. Early work is also endowed with a concise, abstract, stage space, so typical of Spanish painting. Bartolome was known for his ability to paint surprisingly lively faces, their expressions, and also capture realistic details, such as dirt on the feet of bare feet (lesson, of course, from Caravaggio). Murillo admired his ability to capture fleeting facial expressions. Fans of his work were trembling with the emotions of heroes, especially a smile.

   The painting “The Adoration of the Shepherds” was written in approximately 1646-1655. This biblical plot has many interpretations, but the essence is one. The shepherds gather around the baby Christ to bow to him and offer him their gifts: lamb, several chickens and a basket of eggs. The scene resembles the worship of the Magi to the newborn Jesus. Composition, technique, light shades are sent to the canvas of the compatriot. Dark background, saturated thick tones, reddish in the shadows, contrasts of light and shadow, the earthly, real characters are emphasized – everything resembles the canvas of Ribera Husep. Which, in turn, imitated Caravaggio. Their work is also united by the fact that biblical, evangelical images on canvases were portrayed as commoners.

   On the canvas we see a happy, very young, Maria, who knew the joy of motherhood. She carefully holds the baby, turning the sheet so that guests can consider it. This is the semantic center of the canvas. Around the mother and child gathered shepherds, among whom is an elderly woman. The peasants admire the baby, their views are full of reverence. Even living gifts: a cow and a sheep, closely watch Jesus.