Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 178

Scientific intervention in two major Murillo canvases
Referred to throughout this article as IAPH.
The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes represents the act
of mercy of feeding the hungry, indicated by the
cartouche on the frame: “Dearly loved brothers,
remember the poor who suffer hunger.” The work
tells the story from Saint Matthew’s Gospel (14: 13-21)
when Christ miraculously multiplied some loaves and
fishes offered by a boy to feed a hungry crowd following
him. Francisco Herrera the Elder’s Moses and the Water
from the Rock of Horeb, painted 1640-1645 for the Jesuit
College of San Hermenegildo, Seville (now in the
Archbishop’s Palace, Madrid) constitutes an important
precedent for Murillo’s pendent painting. Like Murillo’s
canvas, Herrera’s work depicts Moses bringing water to
the people of Israel, crossing the desert in search of the
Promised Land (Exodus 17: 1 -7). The meaning of this
picture is also recalled by the cartouche in Latin which
reads: “Dearly loved brothers, remember the poor who
suffer thirst.”
Decree 147/1992, 4 August 1992 (BOJA, núm 114,
7 November)
Gilberto Artioli, Scientific Methods and Cultural Heritage:
An Introduction to the Application of Materials Science to
Archaeometry and Conservation Science (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2010).
Koen H. A. Janssens and R. van Grieken, Nondestructive Micro Analysis of Cultural Heritage Materials
(Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 2004).
Annemie Adriaens, “Review: Non-destructive Analysis
and Testing of Museum Objects: An Overview of
Five Years of Research,” Spectrochimica Acta Part B:
Atomic Spectroscopy 60 (2005): pp. 1503-1516.
Francesco Paolo Romano, et al., “Real-Time
Elemental imaging of Large Dimension Paintings
with a Novel Mobile Macro X-Ray Fluorescence
(MA-XRF) Scanning Technique,” Journal of Analytical
Atomic Spectrometry (2017).
Nuclear Physics Group applied to Patrimonio
Universidad de Sevilla-Centro Nacional de
Aceleradores (CSIC-Junta de Andalucía-Universidad
de Sevilla): Mobile X Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy
and Infrared Reflectography, with scanner. Nuclear
Physics Group applied to Patrimonio Universidad
de Sevilla-Grupo de Innovación en análisis químico
Universidad de Jaén: Mobile Raman spectroscopy.
Nuclear Physics Group applied to Patrimonio
Universidad de Sevilla-Instituto Nazionale di
Fisica Nucleare (INFN-LNS)- Consiglio Nazionale
di Ricerca Catania (CNR-IBAM: Mobile X Ray
fluorescence scanner (MA-XRF) using LANDIS-X
[non-invasive onsite X ray technology].
María Dolores and Gayo García, “Evolución de las
preparaciones en la pintura sobre lienzo de los siglos
XVI y XVII en España,” Boletín del Museo del Prado 46
(2010): p. 39.
Adrian Duran et al., “Murillo's Paintings Revealed by
Spectroscopic Techniques and Dedicated LaboratoryMade Micro X-ray Diffraction,” Analytica Chimica Acta
671 (2010).
Romero Asenjo Illán Gutierrez et al., “Características
de las preparaciones Sevillanas en pintura de caballete
entre 1600 y 1700: implicaciones en el campo de la
restauración y de la historia del arte,” in Actas del Il
Congreso del Grupo Español del IIC: Museum Nacional D´Art
de Catalunya (Barcelona: Investigación en Conservación
y Restauración, 2005), pp. 197-204.
Paul Ackroyd et al., “Murillo’s Christ Healing the
Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda: an Introduction to the
Artist’s Late Painting Technique,” in Studying Old
Master Paintings: Technology and Practice, The National
Gallery Technical Bulletin 30th Anniversary Conference
Postprints, ed. Marika Spring et al. (London:
Archetype, 2011), pp. 173-179.
Mayahuel Ortega-Avilés, et al. "Spectroscopic
Investigation of a ‘Virgin of Sorrows’ Canvas
Painting: A Multi-Method Approach," Analytica
Chimica Acta 550 (2005): pp. 164-172.
Francisco Pacheco, Arte de la pintura (1649), ed.
Bonaventura Bassegoda i Hugas (Madrid: Cátedra,
1990), pp. 480-490.
Antonio Palomino, Museo pictórico y escala óptica (1715),
ed. Nina Ayala Mallory, 2 vols. (Madrid: Alianza
Editorial, 1986-1988), II, pp. 125-134.
María del Valme Muñoz Rubio and Fuensante de
la Paz Calatrava, “Murillo el joven: aportación al
conocimiento de su técnica,” in El joven Murillo,
eds. Benito Navarrete Prieto and Alfonso E. Pérez
Sánchez, exh. cat. (Bilbao: Museo de Bellas Artes,
2009), pp. 157-185
Serena Panighello et al., “Investigation of Smalt in
Cross-Sections of Seventeenth-Century Paintings
Using Elemental Mapping by Laser Ablation ICPMS,” Microchemical Journal 125 (2016): pp. 105-115.
Knife-shaped tools used to spread the ground and
priming layers. The picture is composed on top of
This canvas measures 32.8 x 75.5 cm. It has been
documented in England since the mid-nineteenth
century, in the collection of the Earl of Normanton.
Since 1857 specialists have accepted it as part of
Murillo’s oeuvre. It was sold by, Viscount Ednam,
through Christie’s, London, in 1966 and acquired by
Thomas Agnew and Sons. It was auctioned again on
5 July 2017 at Bonhams, London, and acquired by Mr
Joerg Wüller, the present owner.
Weave density of the lining fabrics: the first has 12
warp threads for every 11-12 weft threads per cm and
the second 12 warp threads for every 9-10 weft threads
per cm. Weave density of the original fabrics: 15-16
warp threads for every 14-15 weft threads per cm.
Scientific intervention in two major Murillo canvases


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