Pages

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Isodore and Leander


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 –  1682)
Saint Isidore
1655
Oil on canvas
193 x 165 cm
Sacristy, The Cathedral, Seville



Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 –  1682)
Saint Leander
1655
Oil on canvas
188 x 160 cm
Sacristy, The Cathedral, Seville

Murillo was born in Seville and was responsible for a number of the great treasured art works in the city and in the Cathedral

This work of St Isidore (c. 560 – 4 April 636) has its pendant in a portrait of Saint Leander of Seville (c. 534–600 or 601), brother of St. Isidore of Seville

The elder, Leander was Bishop of Seville before Isidore, who became Bishop on his brother`s death

We remember the literary works of Isidore but according to Isidore, Leander`s works were superior to his

St. Isidore wrote of his brother: "This man of suave eloquence and eminent talent shone as brightly by his virtues as by his doctrine. By his faith and zeal the Gothic people have been converted from Arianism to the Catholic faith" (De script. eccles., xxviii).

Isidore is the Doctor but Leander is the patron of their birth place and their episcopal See, Seville

The works were  composed prior to  April 1658 when Murillo is recorded as being in Madrid for several months. There  he was able to see the royal and aristocratic collections, studying in particular works by Rubens, Van Dyck and the Venetian Cinquecento masters. These artists were to have a strong influence on his subsequent work

The works were donated to Seville Cathedral by the Archdeacon of Carmona, Juan de Federigui in 1655.

Of the two works, greater emphasis is placed on Isidore as  scholar as he concentrates on the open book, while his office as archbishop is indicated by his crozier and mitre. 

In contrast, Leander is the leader and Archbishop, first and foremost. More the man of action than the intellectual

The preparatory drawings of both works are in The British Museum in London and can be seen below


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 –  1682)
St Isidore of Seville seated, his left arm rests on a book, he wears a bishop's mitre and robes and holds a staff in his right hand. 
1655 
Pen and brown ink, brown and grey wash over black chalk
260 millimetres x 208 millimetres
The British Museum, London



Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 –  1682)
St Leander (Leandro) saint seated in a chair facing left, holding a paper in his right hand, wearing a bishop's mitre, robes, and holding a staff in his right hand 
c.1655 
Brush drawing in grey-brown wash, over black chalk
211 millimetres x 180 millimetres
The British Museum, London