Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children; these lively, realist portraits of flower girls, street urchins, beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times. Murillo was born to María Pérez, he may have been born in Pilas, a smaller Andalusian town. It is clear that he was baptized in Seville in the youngest son in a family of fourteen, his father was a surgeon. After his parents died in 1627 and 1628, he became a ward of his sister's husband, Juan Agustín Lagares. Murillo used his father's surname, instead took his surname from his maternal grandmother, Elvira Murillo. Murillo began his art studies in Seville under Juan del Castillo, a relative of his mother, his first works were influenced by Zurbarán, Jusepe de Ribera and Alonzo Cano, he shared their realist approach. The great commercial importance of Seville at the time ensured that he was subject to artistic influences from other regions.

He became familiar with the "Treatise on Sacred Images" of Molanus. As his painting developed, his more important works evolved towards the polished style that suited the bourgeois and aristocratic tastes of the time, demonstrated in his Roman Catholic religious works. In 1642, at the age of 26, he moved to Madrid, where he most became familiar with the work of Velázquez, would have seen the work of Venetian and Flemish masters in the royal collections. In 1645 he returned to Seville and married Beatriz Cabrera y Villalobos, with whom he had eleven children. In that year, he painted eleven canvases for the convent of St. Francisco el Grande in Seville; these works depicting the miracles of Franciscan saints vary between the Zurbaránesque tenebrism of the Ecstasy of St Francis and a luminous style that became typical of Murillo's mature work. According to the art historian Manuela B. Mena Marqués, "in... the Levitation of St Giles and the Death of St Clare, the characteristic elements of Murillo’s work are evident: the elegance and beauty of the female figures and the angels, the realism of the still-life details and the fusion of reality with the spiritual world, extraordinarily well developed in some of the compositions."Also completed c. 1645 was the first of Murillo's many paintings of children, The Young Beggar, in which the influence of Velázquez is apparent.

Following the completion of a pair of pictures for the Seville Cathedral, he began to specialize in the themes that brought him his greatest successes: the Virgin and Child and the Immaculate Conception. After another period in Madrid, from 1658 to 1660, he returned to Seville. Here he was one of the founders of the Academia de Bellas Artes, sharing its direction, in 1660, with the architect Francisco Herrera the Younger; this was his period of greatest activity, he received numerous important commissions, among them the altarpieces for the Augustinian monastery, the paintings for Santa María la Blanca, others. He died in Seville in 1682 at the age of 64. According to old accounts, he died a few months after he fell from a scaffold while working on a fresco at the church of the Capuchines in Cádiz. However, recent research shows that during this time he did not leave Seville, disproving this theory. Murillo had many followers; the prolific imitation of his paintings ensured his reputation in Spain and fame throughout Europe, prior to the 19th century his work was more known than that of any other Spanish artist.

Artists influenced by his style included Greuze. Google marked the 400 years since Murillo's birth with a doodle on 29 November 2018; the Museo del Prado in Madrid. His painting “The Coronation in Heaven of the Mother of God” is on display at the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedralin Bardstown Kentucky, his painting Christ on the Cross is at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego. Christ After the Flagellation is at the Krannert Art Museum, Illinois, his work is found at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Palomino, Antonio. El museo pictórico y escala óptica III. El parnaso español pintoresco laureado. Madrid: Aguilar S. A. de Ediciones. ISBN 84-03-88005-7. 100 paintings by or after Bartolomé Esteban Murillo at the Art UK site Paintings in Museums and Public Art Galleries Worldwide Murillo Biography and Critical Reception Murillo Gallery at MuseumSyndicate Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Bartolomé Esteban Murillo". Catholic Encyclopedia.

New York: Robert Appleton Company. Murillo at ArtRenewalCenter

Black-breasted thrush

The black-breasted thrush is a species of bird in the family Turdidae. It is found from north-eastern India to northern Vietnam. Although both male and female birds have the same colour on their lower parts, the upper section of males is black in colour, while females are grey-brown. Thus, the bird's common name refers to the colour of the male bird's breast, they tend to live in forests located at high altitude. The black-breasted thrush belongs to the family Turdidae; the species is a monotypic taxon – it has been hypothesized that it forms part of a larger superspecies, classified together with Tickell's thrush and the grey-backed thrush. It was thought to have conspecificity with the latter species of thrush; the black-breasted thrush was first described by Edward Blyth in 1847 and was found in the lower Bengal region. The black-breasted thrush is 22 centimetres including its tail. Whereas the lower parts are the same colour for both genders, the upper and middle parts are where they differ.

For males, the section spanning from their head to the back of their neck and breast area is black, the remaining areas at the top are slate gray. On the other hand, females are gray-brown from their eyes to their tail, the section from their throat to their breast is a "diffused" shade of buff; the bird is found from north-eastern India to northern Vietnam. Their preferred habitats are subtropical montane forests that are moist. Other suitable habitats that are less important include tropical and subtropical dry forests – for native populations that are resident – as well as tropical/subtropical moist shrubland and mangroves located above the level of high tide. In southwestern China, these birds can be found in hilly areas, they are found at high elevations of between 1,220 metres to 2,500 metres high. However, they tend to descend to lower altitudes during the winter at around 200 metres; the black-breasted thrush has been placed on the Least Concern category of the IUCN Red List though its population has been decreasing throughout the last ten years.

This is because the reduction in the estimated population is not swift enough to merit Vulnerable status under the IUCN criterion for population trend, a decline of more than 30% in ten years or three generations The population decline has been attributed to continuing "destruction and degradation" of the bird's natural habitat. The size of its distribution range is over 752,000 square kilometres; the call of the black-breasted thrush has been described as "sweet mellow" and "melodious", with their musical phrases spanning 3–8 notes. They consume insects and berries; the food they gather is from the ground, although they fly to fruit trees. Their time of breeding differs depending on the country. Black-breasted thrushes in India reproduce from April to July.

Fude Zhengshen

Fude Zhengshen is a god of prosperity in Chinese mythology. He is considered the same as Tu Di Gong or the name was considered as an official title of the but both of them are different beings; as one of the oldest god by age, he is considered as Houtu. One of the legend said, he was born at 1143 BC on the second year of King Wu's reign, on the second day of second month of Chinese Calendar. He was a kind hearted as a kid; when he was 7 years old, he learned old Chinese Classics and empathized the poor. Zhang Fu De became a government tax officer when he was 36 and he was a wise and good officer and people loved him, he died. But after three days, his deceased body had not amazed all the people, his position was taken by Wei Chao that oppressed people by his cruelty character. Many people left their homeland and farms, they wished to had a wise new officer just like Zhang Fu De, they called him Fude Zhengshen. One poor family had wished to built an altar for him, but they just could afford four pieces of bricks to built.

They used three bricks as the walls and one as the roof, wrote down the name of Fude Zhengshen inside it and use a broken crock as tripod to put the incense. Unexpectedly, the poor family became many people turned to believed on Zhang Fu De. A poem said that the kindness of Zhang Fu De moved Mazu whose in turned sent Ba Xian to picked him up to heaven. Both Fude Zhengshen and Tudigong are described as sitting white haired old men with white long beard; the main differences between the two deities are that Fude Zhengshen is a wealth deity with no connection to the earth while Tudigong are a group of low-ranking earth gods with limited length of service. While Fude Zhengshen's altar is placed high above the floor.