- Reference number
- Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban (Spanish)
- The Virgin Descending to Award Saint Ildefons
- Ca. 1660
- 309 cm x 259 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (colección Isabel Farnesio, Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, dormitorio de sus Majestades, 1746, nº 647; La Granja, dormitorio, 1774, nº 647; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, pieza del oratorio, 1794, nº 647; Palacio Real, Madrid, pieza de oratorio, 1814-1818, nº 647).
This miraculous scene from the life of Saint Ildefons portrays the moment when the Virgin descended from Heaven to give him a chasuble as a prize for his praises. The choice of this subject corresponds to the Counterreformation policy carried out in Spain, where devotion to Mary was one of its fundamental pillars.
The composition is divided into an upper, divine world and a lower, earthly one. The two parts are lined by the chasuble and by the characters' gestures and gazes. The pictorial technique is characterized by an exceptional degree of detail in the representation of the textiles and by the introduction of different characters, such as the veiled old woman, who is related to the sacred legend; and the angels.
This painting was probably paired with The Virgin Appears to Saint Bernard (P978).
The work is first listed in the 1746 inventory of Isabel de Farnesio's collection at the La Granja Palace, and in 1794 at the Royal Palace, both in Madrid.