Elizabeth Goes Home
IN SEVILLE AGAIN AFTER 267 YEARS
About 267 years after it was painted a world-famous picture by Murillo has returned to its original home, the Caridad Chapel in Seville.
The painting is that known as " St. Elizabeth of Hungary taking care of the poor," and was one of a series of eight, all depicting scenes of mercy and compassion, which Murillo painted for the Caridad Chapel.
In 1810, during the invasion of Spain by Napoleon's troops, the picture was one of hundreds which were taken to France, and for some time it was kept in Marshal Soult's private collection. It was returned to Spain in the reign of Louis XVIII, but was kept in Madrid, first in the San Fernando museum, and then in the Prado gallery.
There it remained for over a hundred years, until the outbreak of the civil war in 1936, when, with other treasures of the Prado, it was moved successively to Valencia, Barcelona, Figueras, France, and finally to Geneva.
Last month it again returned to its native land, and was hung once more in the Prado.
But Seville's art lovers made a fuss and insisted that the Murillo masterpiece should be restored to the city in which it was born.
The Government's Commissioner for Art listened to this plea, and a few days ago a notice appeared in the Official Gazette ordering the painting "St. Elizabeth taking care of the poor " to be sent back to the Caridad Chapel in Seville, '' for which it was originally painted." And there it now hangs to-day, 267 years old, but looking as fresh and young, despite having seen so many regimes, wars and revolutions, as if it had just come from the great master's hands.— B.U.P.