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Title A Carmelite Nun with a Crucifix
Alternative Title A Franciscan Nun with a Crucifix
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Spanish School
Date Earliest possibly about 1675
Date Latest possibly about 1700
Description The unknown sitter in this portrait belonged to the Carmelite Order. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Carmelites underwent significant changes, from which two branches emerged. The reformed Carmelites, known as the Discalced Carmelites, followed the teachings of Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Juan de la Cruz. They preached a return to a more contemplative and austere way of life. The palette and the contrasted lighting suggest that this painting was probably produced during the late seventeenth century.
Current Accession Number B.M.15a
Former Accession Number No. 841
Subject portrait
Measurements 206.5 x 115.5 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Publications Young, E., Catalogue of Spanish Paintings, Middlesbrough, 1988, pp. 176-77.

Pendant: BM. 22a.

There seems to have been some confusion in the past about the religious orders to which the nuns in the two portraits belonged. Although this painting has been catalogued as 'A Franciscan Nun', the sitter wears the brown habit and stiff veil of the Carmelite Order. On the other hand, the rope with three knots that the sitter in BM. 22a wears around her waist corresponds to the Franciscan habit.

Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Mercedes Cerón




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