work, tender in feeling always, and sentimental often, was nevertheless. stiffened by emphatic outlines and solid forms, which the painter may well have inherited from Alonso Cano. As tune passed, though, Murillo lost his way and in abandoning his interest in reality he pulled up his anchor and drifted in a world where delicacy of colour, elegance of figure and a misty aura was everything.
Mistaking mist [or mysticism is a fault of modern times, and Murillo fell into this trap midway through his career never to free himself again. Spain was to learn from Murillo that a gentle romanticism about the mysteries of Faith was now more pleasing to God than the full-bodied passion and the feverish searchings that characterised the age of SS. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.
Murillo is best known for his many versions of the Immaculate Conception theme. He seems to have created a special type of woman for these pictures. very much of flesh and blood. but with liquid, dreamy dark eyes turned always heavenwards. In a swirling movement his Virgins arc lifted to the sky in a company of angels, buoyed up by melting clouds. There is an august serenity and a sublime purity about these pictures which has hardly been equalled by another painter. Murillo is saved from the worst crime that besets the sentimentalists banality by a his patent sincerity and belief in whatever he undertook. He may have begun by convincing his patron; he ended by convincing himself.
Iris Corday l