Portrait of a Painter
Old Master Paintings
|Medium, technique||oil on canvas|
136.5 × 102 cm
|Collection||Old Master Paintings|
|On view||Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1600–1700 and British Painting 1600–1800, Cabinet 6|
In this figure of a young virgin, radiating purity and sublime humility, Zurbarán embodied the ideal of the Inmaculada, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The barely pubescent girl, holding her arms wide in a gesture of submission, is ready to accept divine grace. Her body is embraced in light, while around her head is a crown of twelve stars, alluding simultaneously to the Old and the New Testament: the twelve patriarchs, the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve apostles. She wears a blue gown over her white tunic, the way she appeared at the end of the fifteenth century to Saint Beatrice of Silva, foundress of the Order of the Immaculate Conception. At her feet, the attributes of the Virgin Mary – the City of God, David’s Tower, the Temple of God, the ivory tower, the sailboat, the mirror, the Cedar of Lebanon, the palm tree, the sealed fountain and the enclosed spring – fade in the mist of an imaginary landscape.
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.