Book Series Studies in Baroque Art, vol. 16

Murillo: Persuasion and Aura

Benito Navarrete Prieto

  • Pages: 348 p.
  • Size:225 x 300 mm
  • Illustrations:14 b/w, 272 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2021

  • ISBN: 978-1-912554-40-9
  • Hardback
  • Available

Awarded with the 2022 Eleanor Tufts Award of the Society for Iberian Global Art.

This book examines how Murillo constructed his paintings and the devices he employed to provoke responses in the viewer, both then and now.


“Navarette Prieto deftly illustrates the variety of sources from which Murillo drew inspiration (…) this is a book worth immersing yourself in, revealing more of 17th-century Spain every time you turn a page.” (Aoife Brady, in Irish Arts Review, Spring 2022, p. 123)


Benito Navarrete Prieto (1970) is Assistant Professor in the History of Art at Universidad de Alcalá and Director to the Department of History and Philosophy. He has been (2011-2015) the Director of Cultural Infrastructure and Heritage for Seville City Council and in the past has worked as a lecturer at the universities of Valencia, Oviedo and Valladolid. He has curated numerous exhibitions (1998-2017). He has worked as a scientific advisor for the Diego Velázquez Research Centre. He has been visiting professor at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas de la UNA, the Universidad Iberoamericana of México and the Ospite Scientifico at Kunsthistorisches Institut-Max-Planck-Institut in Florenz.


Murillo has attracted particular attention from historians since the seventeenth century to the present day, though opinions of his oeuvre have varied from period to period. The communicative power of his paintings, both then and now, has led him to be used and exploited for different ends. He deliberately cultivated this quality from the time he became an accomplished artist in his native Seville, where he enjoyed great prestige during his lifetime thanks to the resources of his art, his talent and his ability to elicit emotions and arouse passions. His paintings, as if they were prophecies, can only be understood from a visual culture approach and by analysing what his images provoke. Their seemingly easy and familiar appearance is merely the mirror that Murillo, with his command of local codes and the devices of painting, places in front of viewers to trigger a complex empathetic process designed solely to persuade and seduce them, often anticipating their response.



Chapter I 
Murillo and image
Chapter II 
How Murillo constructed his images:
The rhetoric of gesture, appropriation and invention

Chapter III 
Persuaded and seduced:
Murillo and his patrons

Chapter IV 
Art and illusion:
Murillo and theatricality
Chapter V 
How Murillo constructed his landscapes