OIL PAINTING: The Immaculate Conception, 1661
The Immaculate Conception (in Spanish: Purisima) was a favourite subject in seventeenth-century Spanish painting. In these paintings Mary is usually represented as a child or as a young girl, her eyes turned heavenwards, personifying innocence and childlike devotion and rising amidst clouds and cherubs to heaven. Murillo painted innumerable versions of this theme, which also engaged the attention of Zurbaran.
This painting - The Immaculate Conception is a late work of Zurbaran. The Virgin is a slender, delicate young girl with an exquisite oval face and golden hair falling to her shoulders, a vision in white and ultramarine seen against a golden sky peopled with cherubs. Though lacking in vigour, this late oil painting has all the painterly qualities and expressive beauty of the great monumental paintings of Zurbaran's early period. There is a similar Immaculate Conception in the church of Langon near Bordeaux.