The popular name “Virgen de la servilleta” (Virgin of the Napkin) originated from the legend that was forged in the 19th century, based on the close relationship that the painter maintained for years with the monks and the clichés about his good character and generosity. In 1841, the English traveller Isabella Romer mentions the already famous Virgen de la servilleta and retells the legend that, after dinner with them, the monks urged Murillo to produce a painting before leaving. In the face of such insistence, he stretched the napkin like a canvas and masterfully drew the Virgin’s head. Maria shows the Child through a window as in a daily scene, creating an unusual sensation of spontaneous closeness to the spectator, which turns this painting into an iconic work of the Spanish baroque.


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