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Saint Anthony of Padova and the Christ Child

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo1665/1666

Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla

Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla

Devotion to the Child Jesus, the protagonist of this canvas, has been closely linked to the Franciscan Order since its inception. It goes back to the times of St. Francis of Assisi who, by promoting the tradition of cribs to celebrate the feast of the Nativity, enthusiastically worshipped the birth of Jesus and his childhood.
The need to adapt this work to the curvature of the arch of the presbytery forced the painter to frame his composition, adapting its shape to the space for which this painting, and its partner St. Felix of Cantalice with the Christ Child were destined. Murillo projects the figure of the Saint leaning towards the Baby Jesus, which allows him to draw him visibly bent, thus following the obligatory curvature of the available surface.

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