Excerpt: ...here almost equally remarkable, but I cannot stop to make an unmeaning catalogue of them. There is a charming Gypsy Fortune-teller, whose wheedling voice and smile were caught and fixed in some happy moment in Seville; an Adoration of the Shepherds, wonderful in its happy combination of rigid truth with the warmest glow of poetry; two ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...here almost equally remarkable, but I cannot stop to make an unmeaning catalogue of them. There is a charming Gypsy Fortune-teller, whose wheedling voice and smile were caught and fixed in some happy moment in Seville; an Adoration of the Shepherds, wonderful in its happy combination of rigid truth with the warmest glow of poetry; two Annunciations, rich with the radiance that streams through the rent veil of the innermost heaven, -lights painted boldly upon lights, the White Dove sailing out of the dazzling background of celestial effulgence, -a miracle and mystery of theology repeated by a miracle and mystery of art. Even when you have exhausted the Murillos of the Museum you have not reached his highest achievements in color and design. You will find these in the Academy of San Fernando, -the Dream of the Roman Gentleman, and the Founding of the Church of St. Mary the Greater; and the powerful composition of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, in her hospital work. In the first, a noble Roman and his wife have suddenly fallen asleep in their chairs in an elegant apartment. Their slumber is painted with curious felicity, -you lower your voice for fear of waking them. On the left of the picture is their dream: the Virgin comes in a halo of golden clouds and designates the spot where her church is to be built. In the next picture the happy couple kneel before the pope and expose their high commission, and outside a brilliant procession moves to the ceremony of the laying of the corner-stone. The St. Elizabeth is a triumph of genius over a most terribly repulsive subject. The wounds and sores of the beggars are painted with unshrinking fidelity, but every vulgar detail is redeemed by the beauty and majesty of the whole. I think in these pictures of Murillo the last word of Spanish art was reached. There was no further progress possible in life, even for him. "Other heights in other lives, God willing." Returning to the Museum and to Velazquez, we find...Read Less
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