- Inventory number
- Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
- The Foundation of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome: I. The Patrician's Dream
- 1664 - 1665
- 231 cm x 524 cm
- On display
- Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid, 1901
This is one of a pair of paintings representing the miraculous origin of the founding of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. They were commissioned by the Church of Santa María la Blanca in Seville when it was remodeled after 1660 and were conceived of as a program in praise of Mary in keeping with the papal bull of 1661 on the mystery of the Immaculate Conception.
The Patrician's Dream shows the apparition of the Virgin to John and his wife while they sleep. Mary calls on them to build a large church dedicated to her on Mount Esquilino, where the floor plan is indicated by a miraculous snowfall.
These two canvases are among the most important of Murillos works, both for their size and for the ambitious composition and masterful manner in which the pictorial narration is resolved. They were taken to France by Marshal Soult for the Napoleonic Museum. In 1816 they were returned to Spain and deposited at the Royal Academy of San Fernando. From there, they entered the Prado Museum.