Inventory number
P00979
Author
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
Title
The Virgin Descending to Award Saint Ildefonso
Chronology
Ca. 1655
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
309 cm x 259 cm
School
Spanish
Theme
Religion
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection (Collection of Isabel Farnesio, Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, “dormitorio de sus Majestades”, 1746, n. 647; La Granja Palace, “dormitorio”, 1774, n. 647; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza del oratorio”, 1794, n. 647; Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de oratorio”, 1814-1818, n. 647)

This miraculous scene from the life of Saint Ildefonso 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 (P00978).

The work is first listed in the 1746 inventory of Isabel de Farnesio's collection at La Granja Palace, and in 1794 at the Royal Palace, both in Madrid.

 
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