Murillo's Allegories of Salvation and Triumph: The Parable of the Prodigal Son and the Life of Jacob by Mindy Nancarrow Taggard

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Author
Mindy Nancarrow Taggard
Publisher
University of Missouri Press
Date of release
Pages
153
ISBN
9780826208729
Binding
Hardcover
Illustrations
Format
PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC
Rating
4
53

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Book review

This work explores the allegorical meanings of two narrative series of paintings created by one of Spain's baroque painters, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, in the crucial decade of Spain's spiralling decline, 1660-1670. The six paintings that make up "The Parable of the Prodigal Son" represent Christ's parable recorded in the gospel of Luke. "The Life of Jacob", five canvases that are believed to have been commissioned by Seville's Marquis of Villamanrique, follows the life of the Old Testament patriarch found in Genesis. The allegories of salvation and triumph that structure Murillo's pictorial narratives are substantiated through contemporary Spanish theology, drama and moral philosophy, as well as in popular emblem-book literature. The lives of the prodigal and the patriarch were interpreted symbolically as early as the fourth century by Christian theologians. The Scriptures were also invoked by Spanish dramatists of the Golden Age whose texts form a source for the interpretation of Murillo's painted narratives. The tale of a priveleged youth (the prodigal) who suffers extreme deprivation for displeasing his parent, but is absolved through repentance, conforms to the mood of self-recrimination that swept the Spanish peninsula in the latter half of the 17th century and was commonly seen in Spanish art. The metaphorical triumph expressed in "The Life of Jacob" is directly linked to the decline of the Spanish empire under its Hapsburg monarchy. "Murillo's Allegories of Salvation and Triumph" aims to make an important contribution to our knowledge of Spanish baroque painting and fill a void in the studies of Murillo.


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