OIL PAINTING: A Girl and her Duenna, 1670
According to tradition, the models were from the province of Galicia and attained a certain notoriety as courtesans in Seville. A man of the people, Murillo obviously intended this oil painting to both surprise and amuse the spectator. Yet the casualness of A Girl and her Duenna masks a sure sense design - note how the girls' heads form a diagonal that bisects the canvas - and great technical skill. Although Murillo had begun by selling his pictures at fairs, Murillo became conversant with and influenced by the works of Velazquez, Titian and Rubens, presumably as a result of studying the royal collections in Madrid. But Murillo never lost his popular appeal or his gift for the telling expression, such as the smile of the uppermost woman, indicated only by her eyes and cheeks.