Battle between Christians and Muslims at El Sotillo

Francisco de Zurbarán Spanish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 624

Between 711 and 1492 Muslim North Africans controlled large parts of Spain, battling for territory with the kingdom’s Catholic rulers. This history propelled centuries of persecution by Spanish kings of remaining Muslim populations. In 1609 people who had been forced to convert to Christianity from Islam, known as Moriscos, were forcibly exiled, and many who remained were enslaved. This painting embodies Spanish Catholics’ persistent interest in shaping these narratives hundreds of years later. It shows an alleged miracle that took place in 1370, when Muslim troops prepared to ambush a Catholic encampment under cover of night but were revealed by the Virgin Mary, who suddenly illuminated the sky. It was once the centerpiece of a fifty-foot-tall altarpiece that Zurbarán completed for a monastery near the site of the battle.

#5158. The Battle between Christians and Moors at El Sotillo

Battle between Christians and Muslims at El Sotillo, Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, Fuente de Cantos 1598–1664 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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