Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682)
“The Young Beggar” (1650)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
Murillo’s “The Young Beggar” is the first known example of the artist’s popular genre paintings featuring the street children of Seville. The subject of the painting reflects the harsh reality of 17th century Spain, where poverty was rampant and ravaging plagues left many children orphaned and left to fend for themselves on the streets.The painting depicts a barefoot young street urchin clad in torn, patched-up rags, preoccupied with the searching for and killing of lice, after what appears to have been a light lunch of shrimp and apples (a common meal for the poor at the time).