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A Peasant Boy leaning on a Sill

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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A peasant boy leans on a chipped stone block or sill and looks towards something – or someone – that makes him smile. This painting once had a companion picture, A Girl Raising her Veil (private collection), in which a pretty girl exchanges a flirtatious smile with the boy shown here. This is the type of picture for which Murillo is best known. With poverty becoming an ever-growing problem in seventeenth-century Seville, Murillo specialised in painting beggar boys and street children with extraordinary humanity. The boy’s expression and his relaxed pose show him to be in high spirits; apart from his ragged clothes there’s nothing to indicate the harsh realities of poverty. The boy is bathed in naturalistic daylight. Murillo suggests the form of his earlobes and hands with quick, lively brushstrokes.

The National Gallery, London

London

Title

A Peasant Boy leaning on a Sill

Date

1670-80

Medium

Oil on canvas

Measurements

H 52 x W 38.5 cm

Accession number

NG74

Acquisition method

Presented by M.M. Zachary, 1826

Work type

Painting

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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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