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The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
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Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban

Sevilla, 1617 - Sevilla, 1682

Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban See author's file

The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew

1675 - 1682. Oil on canvas.
Room 016

At the centre of this painting, the apostle Saint Andrew is being tied to the X-shaped cross on which he will die. His muscles are taut and he raises his eyes heavenward, where several angels carry the palm and crown of martyrdom. The cross is tall, allowing Murillo to place the saint in the middle ground, surrounded by a great variety of figures who play different roles and express a range of emotions. Murillo has turned Andrew´s death into an exemplary spectacle: labourers prepare the scene of his martyrdom; authorities on horseback direct the execution and keep order; the populace mills about the nearby hill to witness his death; and a group of figures occupy the foreground, providing a counterpoint to the general hubbub. One member of this group is a woman whose back is turned to the viewer, and who holds a young child. Before her, another woman dries her tears with a cloth, while nearby two men converse, one extends his right arm and points at the saint, the other looks at his interlocutor with an expression of anguish. All of this activity is represented on a surface that is little wider than a metre and a half, in which the artist has also found space to depict numerous other objects, including an axe, a shovel and other work tools, the base of a toppled column, as well as a dog. The central subject of the composition derives from a painting by Peter Paul Rubens depicting Saint Andrew´s martyrdom, created for the Hospital of Saint Andrew of the Flemings (Hospital de San Andrés de los Flamencos) in Madrid, which Murillo could have seen either firsthand when he travelled to the court from his native Seville, or in prints based on it. The vitality, dynamism and drama that predominate in the present painting also recall Rubens, as does the use of a range of warm colours. An abundance of pastel tones serves to unify the scene and contributes to an enveloping atmosphere. The work is typical of Murillo´s late period, which scholars have described as characterised by a vaporous style. Also characteristic of this painter from Seville is an ability to combine both a sense of variety and of unity, along with attention to detail and a balanced manner of executing the composition. These allow for a clear reading of an easily identifiable principal subject and secondary subjects, all the while presenting the various elements interacting with each other. The relatively small scale of this religious painting and Murillo´s free painting style do not impede his ability to finely describe objects and figures, all of which attain a rare, individual quality. Such is the case, for instance, with the tools scattered on the ground or the two characters at the feet of the cross: a crouching man is depicted with exactitude as he looks over his shoulder toward his companion, a black man who is described with the same enthusiasm for individuality with which Murillo might paint a portrait. This work was acquired by Charles IV, an indication of the interest in Murillo´s works that developed among Spanish monarchs in the eighteenth century, as they sought to complete their collection of the most highly regarded Spanish painters, which they displayed in the royal palaces. There is another work by Murillo in the Museo Nacional del Prado, The conversion of Saint Paul (La conversión de San Pablo) c.1675-82 (P984), with similar dimensions and which was executed in a similar style, although, for thematic reasons, chiaroscuro was prominently used in that painting. The similarities have led to speculation that the two works might have been pendants (Text drawn from Portús, J.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 142).


Technical data

Related artworks

El martirio de san Andrés
Albumen on photographic paper, 1865 - 1866
Laurent y Minier, Juan
Museo del Prado, vista de la sala de Murillo
Gelatin / Collodion on photographic paper, 1900 - 1907
Lacoste y Borde, José
Martirio de San Andrés
Phototype on card, First half of the XX century
Lacoste y Borde, José
Inventory number
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew
1675 - 1682
Height: 123 cm; Width: 162 cm
Royal Collection (Palacio de Aranjuez, Madrid, pieza de vestir la reina, 1818, nº 419).

Bibliography +

Inventario de las Pinturas del Museo Hecho a la Muerte del Rey Fernado VII, Madrid, 1834, pp. 13.

Ford, Richard, A Handbook For Travellers in Spain, John Murray, 1890.

Mayer, August L., Historia de la Pintura Española, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1928, pp. 316.

Terrasse, Charles, Murillo. Biographie Del'Artiste. Analyse des Oeuvres Reprodu, RenouardH.Laurens, París, 1930, pp. 26.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

La peinture espagnole du siècle d'or: de Greco a Velazquez, Association Française d'Action Artistique, París, 1976, pp. nº35.

The Golden Age of Spanish Painting, Royal Academy of Arts, Londres, 1976, pp. 81.

Gaya Nuño, Juan Antonio, La obra pictórica completa de Murillo, Noguer, Barcelona, 1978, pp. nº283.

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Murillo, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1981, pp. 232.

Mena, Manuela, 'El martirio de San Andrés' En:, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo: (1617-1682)., Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas Artes., Madrid, 1982, pp. 244-245 nº 73.

Mena, M, 'The martyrdom of St. Andrew' En:, Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), Royal Academy of Arts, Londres, 1982, pp. 244-245 nº 73.

Prinz Von Hohenzollern, J.G., Von Greco Bis Goya. Vier Jahrhunderte Spanische Malerei, Haus Der Kunst, Munich, 1982, pp. nº57.

Ayala Mallory, Nina, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1983, pp. 64 lám. XII.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 452.

Duvosquel, Jean-Marie; Vandevivere, Ignace (eds.), Splendeurs d'Espagne et les villes belges: 1500-1700, Europalia 85 España. Crédit Communal, Bruselas, 1985, pp. 573-576.

Bottineau, Yves, L'art Baroque, Mazenod, París, 1986, pp. lám. 132.

Réau, Louis, Iconographie de L'Art Chretien. T. I. Introduction Generale, Kraus Reprint, Millwood, 1988, pp. 79.

Puppi, Lionello, Lo Splendore Dei Supplizi. Liturgia Delle Esecuzioni Capital, Berenice, Milán, 1990, pp. 143.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, I, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, 1990, pp. nº182.

Spinosa, Nicola, Napols i el Barroc Mediterrani, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1990, pp. 150.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Presencia del Museo del Prado en Mexico. Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Televisa, México, 1990.

Ayala Mallory, Nina, Del Greco a Murillo: la pintura española del Siglo de Oro, 1, Alianza, Madrid, 1991, pp. 215 / lám. 188.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Murillo Sombras de la Tierra, Luces del Cielo, Silex, Madrid, 1991, pp. 199.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., De pintura y pintores: la configuración de los modelos visuales en la pintura española, Alianza, Madrid, 1993, pp. lám. 268.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura barroca española: guía, Museo Nacional del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 208.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Cortes del Barroco : De Bernini y Velazquez a Lvca Giordano, SeacexPatrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2003, pp. 370.

Portús Pérez, Javier, La colección de pintura española en el Museo del Prado, Edilupa, Madrid, 2003, pp. 167.

Carlos IV: mecenas y coleccionista, Patrimonio Nacional; Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2009, pp. 229-231.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Murillo: catálogo razonado de pinturas, El Viso, 2010, pp. nº346 p.599.

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from The Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, 2012, pp. 142-143, nº32.

Galansino, Arturo, 'Compassion' En:, Sensation et Sensualité. Rubens et son Héritage, Bozar Books - Fonds Mercator, Bruselas, 2014, pp. 178-187 [180-181].

¡Hola Prado!: Two Collections in Dialogue, Michael Imhof Verlag,, 2017, pp. 47-8 n.6.

Murillo: IV centenario, Junta de Andalucía, Consejería de Cultura,, Sevilla, 2018, pp. 289-293 n. 40.

Other inventories +

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. 134.
INVENTARIO GENERAL DE LOS CUADROS DE S.M. EXISTENTES EN LA GALERÍA DEL REAL MUSEO [...] SALÓN 1º [...] [Fol. 408r] Ciento treinta y cuatro. Martirio de San Andrés Apóstol / de Murillo / Lº / 30.220

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 182.
Murillo. / 182. Martirio de san Andres apostol en Patras / (Achaya) / En primer termino vense á un lado varios grupos / de gente del pueblo. Al otro lado ginetes, uno de ellos / con bandera roja, y soldados con lanzas. En el centro / el Santo elevado en alto en una cruz en forma de aspa, / á la cual acaban de sujetarle varios sayones que se / ven al pie. la cabeza del Apostol está bañada por la / rafaga de la luz celestial que brilla en el cielo, donde / se ven unos angeles que le traen la palma y la corona / del martirio. / alto 4 pies, 5 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 5 pies, 9 pulg, / 6 lin

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 182.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1819. Núm. 4.
El Martirio de S. Andres Apóstol: por Murillo.

Inv. Fernando VII, Aranjuez, 1814-1818. Núm. 419.
Pieza de vestir la Reyna [...] {20825} 419 / Dos varas y media de ancho una y medio alto, el uno martirio de San Andres el otro la caida de San Pablo = Murillo

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 881.
881.-Martirio del apóstol San Andrés. / Alto 1,23. Ancho 1,62.-Lienzo. / Despues de haber predicado el Evangelio en muchas / provincias del Oriente, penetró en la Achaya, y en la / ciudad de Patrás fué condenado á morir en cruz por el / proconsul Egeas, por no querer tributar adoracion á los / ídolos del paganismo. Ejecutóse la sentencia el dia 30 / de Noviembre del año 63 de Jesucristo, bajo el imperio / de Neron, y es tradicion (aunque combatida por respe- / tables escritores eclesiásticos) que la cruz en que murió / atado era en forma de aspa, y no á manera de T, como la en que espiró el...

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

182. [duplicada]
Inscribed in gray. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

06.06.2020 - 25.07.2021

Murillo IV Centenario
29.11.2018 - 17.03.2019

¡Hola Prado! Two Collections in Dialogue
08.04.2017 - 20.08.2017

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston TX
15.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
22.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Carlos IV, mecenas y coleccionista
22.04.2009 - 19.07.2009

Bernini, Velázquez, Luca Giordano. Le Corti del Barocco - Cortes del Barroco
15.10.2003 - 15.01.2004

Nápoles y el Barroco Mediterráneo
18.04.1990 - 03.06.1990

Nápoles y el Barroco Mediterráneo
14.02.1990 - 30.03.1990

Location +

Room 016 (On Display)


Displayed objects +



Lances / Spears

Ax / Hatchet

Update date: 26-05-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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