Museo Bellas Artes de Sevilla. printer version

collections: growth of historical heritage

Jesus Disputing with the Elders in the Temple.Illustrates the section
Jesus Disputing with the Elders in the Temple.

Juan de Valdés Leal (Seville, 1622-1690)

Jesus Disputing with the Elders in the Temple. 1661
Oil on canvas. 107 x 80 cm
Acquired by the State in 2013

The scene shows a passage from the Gospel of St Luke (Luke 2: 41-50) according to which Jesus disappeared on a trip that the Holy Family took each year to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover; he was found three days later in the temple. The work faithfully depicts the moment when Joseph and Mary, on the left of the composition, find Jesus arguing with the elders about the Law of Moses.

It forms a pair with the Wedding at Cana and shares a similar approach in the composition and staging. The scene is also classical architecture, but here it is decorated with plasterwork. In an alcove is a esculpture of Moses who symbolises Old Testament Law that Christ would replace with New Testament Law. They are also similar in terms of the colouring with its warm tones, in which the red of Jesus's robe and the wall hangings stand out; in the backlighting created by the alternation of planes of light and shadow and also in the rapid and energetic brushstroke, which gives the work a sketchlike quality.

Inmaculate Conception. Illustrates the section
Inmaculate Conception

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Seville, 1617-1682)

Immaculate Conception. Around 1670 -1675
Oil on copper. 70 x 54 cm
Acquired by the State in 2013

The Virgin Mary appears on a mass of clouds, surrounded by cherubs and angels and crowned by twelve stars. It follows the traditional iconography of Murillo's Immaculate Conceptions: young, almost a girl, with long hair and wearing a sheer white tunic and blue mantle around her arm which is gathered at her shoulder. The angels are holding their attributes: the mirror, palm, roses, madonna lilies and the olive branch.

Considered a school work by some historians, the characteristic manner in interpreting this subject and the high quality of the painting clearly make it attributable to Murillo.

The Wedding at Cana. Illustrates the section
The Wedding at Cana

Juan de Valdés Leal (Seville, 1622-1690)

The Wedding at Cana. 1661
Oil on canvas. 107 x 80 cm
Acquired by the State in 2013

The scene depicts a passage from the Gospel of St John (John 2: 1-11). It tells of the miracle that occurred at a wedding to which the Virgin Mary, Jesus and his disciples were invited. The wine ran out and Jesus asked for a number of pitchers to be filled with water. When they were poured they became wine.

Valdés sets the scene in an architectural interior with classic overtones and organises the composition on planes developed in depth and in height. He places the main figures in the middle ground but gives great importance to the servants who are in the foreground with forced foreshortening, following Jesus's instructions.

It is worth noting the play of light which graduates from the semidarkness of the foreground and becomes lighter as we look towards the upper right section. The two male figures wearing turbans and talking to each other recall those in the work Jesus Disputing with the Elders, with which this forms a pair and has significant similarities to.


Self-portrait. Illustrates the section


Antonio Cabral Bejarano (Seville 1798-1861)
Oil on canvas.  55 x 42 cm
Donated by Alfonso Lasso de la Vega, 2013

Antonio Cabral Bejarano worked in Seville, where he was considered the most important painter of the time, and was awarded almost every commission for religious and civil art.
In this work he appears with his body facing slightly to the right while looking firmly forward with a certain stern expression. The painting, now middle-aged, is wearing a brown jacket and white shirt and has an enormous black bow tie around his neck.

The work is of interest to the museum because it forms part of its history given that the painter promoted its foundation and was the first director of the gallery in 1840, as well as the first person to compile an inventory of its collections.