Curator's blog

A Masterpiece of Spanish Painting Enters the Collection

painting depicting man dressed in black with mustache in oval frame

When the art historian Jacob Burckhardt visited the Louvre in 1843, a self-portrait by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo stood out amidst the superb Spanish works that made up the Galerie Espagnole, a magnificent collection assembled by King Louis-Philippe. Burckhardt wrote: “Murillo is still one of the greatest who ever lived. Here hangs his portrait (by his own hand). It is the key to all his works. . . . Look at these splendid, slightly pouting lips! Do they not reveal the man of action!