THE POOL OF BETHESDA
The light in the painting is brown and soft,
Not outdoor light, not studio light,
But just the kind of stopped-down light
You get in dreams. Murillo's Christ
Is beautiful; he's gesturing love
At a crippled man.
We've seen so many
Empathic Christs that we're tired of them,
Forgetting how in Renaissance painting
Christ was a king gone walkabout.
This of Murillo's is one of the first
To break with that and seem all kindness.
Wellington’s Peninsula army
Stole the painting from Marshal Soult
Who looted it from the Hospital
De La Caridad. Did he understand
What he'd taken? Did it preach to him?
How many persons in need of kindness
Did Soult and his armies leave scattered through Spain?
View Murillo's Christ Healing The Paralytic At The Pool Of Bethesda here