OIL PAINTING: Immaculate Conception, c.1678
Murillo received a commission from the hospital of Venerable Sacerdotes for a significant group of paintings. This institution had been started by Justino de Neve in 1676 as an asylum for retired members of the clergy. Murillo was asked to paint three paintings soon after the construction was started. One of these proved to be his culminating version of the Immaculate Conception, a glorious painting in which the last of the traditional attributes is eliminated except for the crescent moon, and the putti, flutter around the triumphant Virgin, some painted so thinly that they seem to dissolve into the fluffy clouds.
In 1813 Immaculate Conception was taken to France by Marshal Soult. It was returned to the Prado in 1941.