Nicolás Omazur

oil painting of man in profile holding a skull

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Nicolás Omazur, 1672
Oil on canvas
32 5/8 × 28 3/4 in. (83 × 73 cm)
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
© Museo Nacional del Prado

 

A merchant from Antwerp who moved to Seville in the late 1660s, Nicolás Omazur (ca. 1630–1698) owned more than two hundred paintings, including thirty-one by Murillo, who was a close friend. This painting has a pendant portrait of Omazur’s wife, Elizabeth Maelcamp (now in a private collection). The top part of a fictive stone cartouche is barely visible at the bottom of the canvas. Descriptions in seventeenth-century inventories establish that the painting has been substantially cut down. Originally, it had a complex fictive frame with the painting’s date and a Latin inscription that referred to the skull in the portrait and invited the viewer to gaze at both Omazur and the face of Death, exhorting posterity to see the skull as a future image of themselves.