MORALES, Luis de
(b. ca. 1520, Badajoz, d. 1586, Badajoz)

Madonna with the Child

c. 1570
Oil on panel, 84 x 64 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

We know very little about Morales. He appears never to have left Spain, and the influence of Italian Mannerism reached him only through the work of Pedro de Campana, an artist of Flemish origin. Virgin and Child is one of his most characteristic pictures, and there are several variants. The composition of the painting may possibly be traced to an engraving by Dürer, but the influence of Italian Mannerism is very strongly felt in the delicate elongation of the neck, the tapering of the fingers, the Leonardo-like softness of the features, the sweet expression reminiscent of Raphael and the use of large blocks of strong colour for the garments. And even if most of Morales's painting does not rise above the average standard achieved by his contemporaries, the variants of Virgin and Child demonstrate an engaging and pleasant handling which justifies the attribute so generally conferred upon him: El Divino, the 'Divine' Morales.