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Tony Grist

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Vaguely Related To Yesterday's Post, Only Written Several Years Previously [Nov. 22nd, 2006|04:47 pm]
Tony Grist

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

linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: sovay
2006-11-22 06:02 pm (UTC)
How many persons in need of kindness
Did Soult and his armies leave scattered through Spain?


I like this very much.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-11-22 08:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2006-11-22 06:07 pm (UTC)
So true, your perception of this painting. I often wonder if looters ever stopped to look at what they were pillaging and your question is a good one.

I live in Seville and have often visited La Caridad. Murillo painted it specifically for the hospital because it was a charity institution for the destitute. He had a gift of making the divine merge with the human. In our fine arts museum here there is a lovely painting by Murillo of Mary holding the baby Jesus. Little Jesus is pushing away from Mary´s arms and looks as if he wants to leave the painting and connect somehow with the viewer of the painting.

This has nothing to do with your post, really, but I have a tendency to go on about Murillo.
:)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-11-23 10:32 am (UTC)
I like Murillo too. He's desparately unfashionable- maybe that's why.

I'm grateful that this great painting is in London, but at the same time scandalised that it's not in the building it was painted for. Art is always that much more affecting in its "proper" place.

It was stolen. Why isn't there a campaign for its return?
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2006-11-24 03:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, he´s unfashionable but if you can get past his endless Immaculate Conception paintings (some of which are actually achingly lovely and the man did have to have an income), you find a painter of astonishing versatility and beauty. I admire him greatly and always search out his paintings in art museums.

One of my favorite paintings:
http://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/gg30/gg30-1188.0.html

Sadly, most art in this world has become displaced over the centuries. I remember marveling over the Murillos in Munich´s Alte Pinakothek. They have a set he dedicated to the homeless street urchins of Seville and they are wonderful studies. But in Spain at that time, the sordid side of life was something to be shunned, hidden, so they were spirited out of the country and are now in Munich.

Every time I visit the British Museum I can´t help thinking that if they returned every purloined item in it (such as Greece demands of the Elgin Marbles)it would quickly become a third class institution.

That said, I think you´re right. More demands *should be made* by governments for the return of what is their patrimony.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-11-24 03:43 pm (UTC)
I love that picture of the girl at the window. It reminds me of similar images by Goya.

A lot of the art that has wandered off round the globe was legitmately bought and sold, but the Bethesda picture was looted.

Or was it? I believe the Spanish government gave the Duke of Wellington various art works as a thankyou for his role in the Peninsular war. Was this Murillo one of them?

Even if it was, I think he should have given it back. It was designed to be hung in a particular building and that's where it ought to be.
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