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A peasant boy leans on a chipped stone block or sill and looks towards something – or someone – that makes him smile. This painting once had a companion picture, A Girl Raising her Veil (private collection), in which a pretty girl exchanges a flirtatious smile with the boy shown here.
The boy is bathed in naturalistic daylight. Murillo suggests the form of his earlobes and hands with quick, lively brushstrokes. The sketch-like appearance of the shadows and background contrasts with the thicker layers of paint in the clothing, especially the white shirt draped round the boy’s shoulder.
The National Gallery, London
A Peasant Boy leaning on a Sill
Oil on canvas
H 52 x W 38.5 cm
Presented by M.M. Zachary, 1826