Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Crucifixion

Bartolomé Estebán Murillo (Spanish, Seville 1617–1682 Seville)
ca. 1675
Oil on canvas
20 x 13 in. (50.8 x 33 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Harry G. Sperling, 1971
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 610
This poignant depiction of Christ on the Cross is an oil sketch that relates to a large painting in the Prado, Madrid. Murillo created a perfect focus for meditation: the sun has set, the cloudy sky is streaked with moonlight, and in the dim background Jerusalem can be seen. The picture may be the "little Crucifixion" that was owned by Sebastián Martínez, whose portrait by Goya also belongs to the Metropolitan Museum.
Inscription: Inscribed (on cross): INRI
Delaval Loftus Astley, 18th Baron Hastings, Melton Constable, Norfolk (until d. 1872); his son, Bernard Edward Delaval Astley, 19th Baron Hastings, Melton Constable, (1872–d. 1875); his brother, George Manners Astley, 20th Baron Hastings, Melton Constable, (1875–d. 1904); his son, Albert Edward Delaval Astley, 21st Baron Hastings, Melton Constable, (1904–63; sale, Christie's, London, May 24, 1963, $2,352 to "Spence" [Abdy]); Robert Henry Edward Abdy, London (1963–65; sold to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, New York, 1965–75; bequeathed by Harry G. Sperling, last surviving partner of firm, to MMA]
Jacksonville, Fla. Cummer Gallery of Art. "700 Years of Spanish Art," October 28–November 30, 1965, no. 38 (lent by F. Kleinberger & Co., Inc., New York).

Corpus Christi, Tex. Art Museum of South Texas. "Spain and New Spain," February 15–April 30, 1979, no. 67.

Fort Worth, Tex. Kimbell Art Museum. "Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682): Paintings from American Collections," March 10–June 16, 2002, no. 26.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682): Paintings from American Collections," July 14–October 6, 2002, no. 26.

Edward Davies, ed. The Life of Bartolomé E. Murillo, Compiled from the Writings of Various Authors. London, 1819, pp. xciv, lxxxiv, reports that the painting cited by Ponz as "un crucifixo en pequeño" in Sebastián Martínez's collection, Madrid, "came to England", possibly this picture.

Catalogue of Important Paintings by Old Masters. Christie's, London. May 24, 1963, p. 30, no. 52, ill., from the collection of Lord Hastings, Melton Constable, Norfolk; as a reduced version of the modello for the Prado Crucifixion.

700 Years of Spanish Art: Commemorating the St. Augustine Quadricentennial. Exh. cat., Cummer Gallery of Art. Jacksonville, Fla., 1965, p. 19, no. 38.

Jonathan Brown. Murillo & His Drawings. Exh. cat., Art Museum, Princeton University. Princeton, 1976, p. 189, no. 14, calls it an oil sketch for the painting in the Prado; erroneously cites it as Ref. Curtis 1883, no. 218.

Diego Angulo Íñiguez. Letter. January 14, 1976, supposes that it should be considered a workshop replica of the Crucifixion in the Prado.

Marcus B. Burke in Spain and New Spain: Mexican Colonial Arts in their European Context. Exh. cat., Art Museum of South Texas. Corpus Christi, Tex., 1979, pp. 67–69, no. 4, ill., dates it about 1670–82; considers it an autograph oil study for the Prado painting which he believes includes workshop participation; cites a version on copper in the Meadows Museum.

Katharine Baetjer in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1975–1979. New York, 1979, p. 52, ill., cites a similar study in the Cook collection, Richmond.

Eric Young. Bartolomé Murillo: Werkverzeichnis. Frankfurt am Main, 1980, p. 88, no. 278, ill., dates it to about 1675–80.

Diego Angulo Íñiguez. Murillo. Madrid, 1981, vol. 2, pp. 224–25; vol. 3, pl. 397, as a possible workshop replica of the Prado Crucifixion; cites other versions in Buenos Aires, Malaga, Richmond, and Seville.

Enrique Valdivieso. Murillo: Sombras de la tierra, luces del cielo. Madrid, 1990, p. 142.

Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez in De pintura y pintores: La configuración de los modelos visuales en la pintura española. Madrid, 1993, p. 142, cites influence of Van Dyck; notes painting was unique in Seville for showing Crucifixion with three nails.

Suzanne L. Stratton-Pruitt in Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682): Paintings from North American Collections. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum. New York, 2002, pp. 129, 170–71, no. 26, ill. (color), observes that "artist's replicas were finished works intended to duplicate admired paintings in their degree of finish, if not in scale," and considers this picture a sketch following the artist's larger version in the Prado, Madrid; agrees with Angulo that Van Dyck's Crucifixion in Dendermonde was probably not the model for this work, noting it is closer to Alonso Cano's version of the subject (Academia de Bellas Artes, Granada); suggests the painting may once have belonged to Sebastián Martínez in the late eighteenth century.

This canvas is generally believed to be a small-scale preliminary sketch for a Crucifixion in the Prado (no. 966).
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