Adoration of the Shepherds - Bartolome Esteban Murillo. 1646-1655.
Murillo’s paintings are convincing naturalism, similar to other famous baroque artists, in particular Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Velazquez and Zurbaran. Murillo's youth is still evidenced by the dramatic chiaroscuro used by the aforementioned painters. As the style developed, Bartolome discarded the painful realism of his predecessors in favor of light, soft, often sentimental sweetness. The early style of the author bears the seal of his teacher - Castello, and then the most popular artist in Seville, Zurbaran.
During these years, Murillo uses strong chiaroscuro, heightened drama, lively naturalism. The early works are also endowed with a concise, abstract, stage space, so typical of Spanish painting. Bartolome was known for his ability to paint amazingly lively faces, their expressions, and capture realistic details, such as dirt on the soles of bare feet (a lesson, of course, from Caravaggio). Murillo was admired for his ability to capture fleeting facial expressions. Fans of his work were awed by the emotions of the heroes, especially the smile.
The painting "The Adoration of the Shepherds" was painted around 1646-1655. This biblical story has many interpretations, but the essence is the same. Shepherds gather around the baby Christ to bow to him and offer him their gifts: a lamb, several chickens and a basket of eggs. The scene resembles the worship of the Magi to the newborn Jesus. Composition, technique, chiaroscuro send to the canvas of a compatriot. The dark background, saturated dense tones, reddish in the shadows, contrasts of light and shadow, emphasized earthly, real characters - everything reminds of Ribera Husep's canvas. Which, in turn, imitated Caravaggio. Their work is also united by the fact that biblical, gospel images on canvases were depicted by commoners.
On the canvas we see a happy, very young, Mary, who knew the joy of motherhood. She carefully holds the baby, turning away the sheet so that guests can examine it. This is the semantic center of the canvas. Shepherds gathered around the mother and child, among them an elderly woman. Peasants admire the baby, their views are full of reverence. Even living gifts: a cow and a sheep, are closely watching Jesus.