The Golden Age of Spanish painting, the Siglo de Oro, would have been incomplete without Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682). Spain, no longer the dominant force on the seven seas, reeled from the devastation of plague epidemics and the famines that followed. Her coffers were emptied by years of war and reigns of weak kings; the province of Portugal had seceded, never to return to Spanish control. Along with fellow Sevillano painters of the same era, Francisco de Zurbarán (JAMA cover, November 1, 2006), Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, and Juan de Valdés Leal, Murillo represents the artistic strength that flourished during this period of political and economic decline. His art, whether seen in a church or in a private home, surely buoyed sinking Spaniard spirits.
Torpy JM. Boy With a Dog. JAMA. 2009;301(4):359. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.790