Madonna Nursing the Christ Child

Madonna Nursing the Christ Child

c. 1670-72

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

Catalogue raisonné: Brown 2012.75


Did you know?

The inscription Morillo on this drawing is not the artist's signature but rather a notation likely made by a 17th-century owner of the drawing.


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 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 create the feeling of incessant motion while the addition of ink wash creates deep shadows across the forms.

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