Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Self-Portrait, ca. 1650–55
Oil on canvas
42 1/8 x 30 1/2 in. (107 x 77.5 cm)
The Frick Collection; Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II, 2014
© The Frick Collection
Painted when he was in his mid-thirties, Murillo’s first self-portrait shows him as an upper-class Spaniard, sporting an elegant black outfit with a golilla (a stiff white collar, typical of Spanish fashion). It was probably a private work, painted for his own family. The image of the artist is set in a fictive stone block, chipped and battered by time, that rests on a stone ledge in a realistic manner. The Latin inscription at the bottom of the canvas, describing Murillo as a famous painter and providing biographical information — including the wrong birthdate of 1618 — was added to the painting after his death.