OIL PAINTING: The Little Fruit Seller, 1670-1675
A little girl with the face of a Madonna, a contented little boy examining the earnings she holds in her hand and a basket full of grapes which is, in itself, a still-life of the highest quality. Does this painting by Murillo The Little Fruit Seller show us a life free from worry?
The apparent poverty of the two figures, their unchild-like but necessary employment suggest a sense of hopelessness and misery. And yet these children seem to exude an air of rapt serenity and contented enjoyment of life. Herein lies Murillo's Christian message: because these children do not see their poverty as a burden, and because they do not regard their existence as joyless, they are beautiful and "dignified". The Little Fruit Seller is thus a painting that could adorn the walls of any ruler's palace.