Two Women at a Window Bartolome Esteban Murillo Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This charming artwork by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was produced around 1655-1660 and is one of the more famous paintings that he produced in the Genre art style. This is where artists focus on the ordinary lives of local people and this approach proved popular for the Seville painter.

Here we find two young women standing by an open window. There is a sense of fun and happiness in this artwork, with a playful connection to something or someone outside. The lady nearest us leans over and allows more light to strike across her face. She looks relaxed, with a cheeky grin as she watches events outside. Her friend appears to be a little more shy, as she partially hides behind the window shutter and has her mouth covered as she tries to disguise her own laughter. Their outfits are sweet and feminine, harking back to older, simpler times that most people still find entirely charming. Murillo chooses to darken their room, meaning no other details can be seen other than the window frame and the shutter. This forces the entire focus of our eyes onto these two ladies, just as the artist would have wished. Although his genre paintings were particularly successful, this artist still remains most famous for his religious artworks, such as The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables and The Virgin of the Rosary.

Whilst focusing on ordinary life, the artist would not necessarily include only particular levels of society. For example, he went from The Young Beggar and all of the difficulties faced by that young man, all the way across to the more comfortable lives of the women in front of us here. Studies have suggested that the two women were of different enough ages that one would be serving as the chaperone of the other, which was a common routine within the richer parts of the city. Roles aside, both look happy and Murillo always seemed able to invoke sensitivity into his paintings that other male artists would struggle to do. He would continue this into his religious artworks as well, helping to breathe new life into that genre whilst also making the topics somewhat more accessible and relatable to ordinary residents of Seville. These two categories of work were enough to cover his patrons' tastes in Spain and Northern Europe, with two clearly different markets requiring different approaches.

Two Women at a Window can now be found in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in the US. Despite their huge collection it can normally be found on display, underlining the importance of the artist but also the role of this painting within his large oeuvre. The gallery itself hosts one of the finest collections in the country and can challenge competitively against pretty much any other art institution in the world, from the perspective of western art. To name just a few items that maybe of interest to you, there are several Albert Bierstadt paintings to be found here, as well as works by the likes of Miro, Van Gogh and Cassatt. In truth, there is so much to see here that really the best advice is to take a trip and to just see what is on display at the time.

Two Women at a Window in Detail Bartolome Esteban Murillo