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A Critique and Analysis of "The Young Beggar" by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

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The 17th century is known for its terrible events, one of them being the spreading of the black plague. Nevertheless, artists and painters were still inspired to create artworks which started the baroque period. The baroque era consisted of theatrical themes, music and operas which distracted people from the danger and the deaths happening every day. In contrast, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, a Spaniard from Seville, created a lot of artwork showing what was happening outwards in the real world. He never sugar coated anything he drew all his artworks the way he viewed everything.

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Bartolome Esteban Murillo used oil paint, an aqueous media, in his painting The Young Beggar. He used a very common baroque technique which consists of diagonal lines, vertical lines, and axes with warm colors to create a heart aching theme to his painting. He used very well-defined strokes to create very realistic and detailed image of a rugged dressed boy that appears to live in a dusty, abandoned room. He uses analogous colors, three colors side by side in the color wheel, to blend and combine certain colors so some items could pop out. For example, the rooms itself shows a mixture of brown, black, brown, and bronze to show make the little boy pop put which is illuminated by the light from the window. The light from the window creates a great contrast from the boy to the room, it allows us to see the main message and the focus of the work. Not only does the room have a mixture of dark color, but also has value to show the shadow of the boy and indicating movement from the boy. It illustrates as if the boy was fidgeting or eating. In addition, the many shapes and forms in the painting creates movement through the picture. For instance, the fallen apples beside the boy, the shrimp in the floor and the ray of sunlight from the window. This was all done by using a canvas which was first primed with gesso then used for support for the masterpiece to be done.

Seville, Spain was Murillo’s hometown where he was born and raised. He was born December 31, 1617 by a barber and doctor, Gaspar Esteban, and his wife Maria Peres. He had 14 other siblings which were older than but when both his parents died, he had to go to an orphanage. Fortunately, it wasn’t a very long time since his oldest sister got married and could adopt him and the rest of the siblings. From there he started growing and realizing that he wanted to be an artist like his uncle. He was a very religious Spaniard ever since little but once he grew up he was inspired to paint what his religion believed. What he believed in. Once he got married and a family, he got more in depth in his religion, Roman Catholic. He started creating artwork dealing with his morals and scenes of people especially children which he adored. As he was starting his career he looked up to Diego Velázquez who was quite known for his art. He was able to be as great as him and be known to have such great success creating inspirational paintings.

Murillo was a painter when the back plague was spreading, and he was always seeing a lot of orphan kids in the streets indicating there was a lot of children suffering. He wanted to cultivate the image to show the people from around the world what children were going through and what the plague did to families. He one day saw a little beggar boy who was sitting at a corner of an abandoned building and tonight it was his opportunity to speak to the world. The boy was sitting on the cold stone with ripped rags that barely covered him. It looks like he was desperate for food even though had rotten ripped apples beside him. He grabbed his shirt showing his despair and showing his hope for a better life. Murillo taught it was a great image, despite the sadness he felt looking at the young beggar, he painted it and showed Spain his masterpiece. After it was shown in public there was a lot of great critics about the art, people started realizing the pain going around the streets. Of course, not all the kids were saved but it did start opening people’s eyes and some kids were saved which was what counted the most.

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In conclusion, when I first saw Murillo’s work The Young Beggar, I was intrigued with the image of the boy which is what made me choose the painting. Once I finished all the research and the paper I wasn’t disappointed one bit with my choice. I turned out to love it even more once I was done. Starting with the message of the painting and the techniques used were quite great done. You can feel the emotion while seeing the message at the same time. Murillo was very successful in his career and especially with this composition. He will always be remembered for his amazing works and for his great heart.

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