Murillo: Virtuoso Draftsman

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Immaculate Conception, pen and brown ink, brown w
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Immaculate Conception, pen and brown ink, brown wash, over traces of black chalk, 13 1/8 x 9 inches (collection of The Morgan Library)

Tyler Green interviews art historian Jonathan Brown about his new book Murillo: Virtuoso Draftsman, a catalogue raisonne of Murillo's drawings published by Yale University Press.

Brown discusses Murillo's drawing process in detail. He remarks that Murillo is "a very spirited draftsman, perhaps more spirited as a draftsman than he is as a painter." He continues: "The chalk drawings I think represent the final stage in a given composition… The reproductions flatten out all the nuance and makes them look like run of the mill copies… parts of them are very freely drawn… when you seen them in the flesh you realize they're really very vibrant, they don't have a dull copy feel to them at all... He uses drawings as a laboratory for working out his ideas for the compositions."