The Daughter of Jairus, 1864 by Ignacio Léon y Escosura


Ignacio Léon y Escosura (Spanish, 1834-1901)

Born in Oviedo, Spain Ignacio León y Escosura trained at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid and went on to be an internationally renown painter, whose works were regularly shown at the prestigious Paris Salon and can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (“Auction Sale in Clinton Hall, New York, 1876”).

This work, the Daughter of Jairus was León’s first major success. It was painted for the annual Prix de Rome contest held in Madrid in 1864, where the artists competed against thousands of other artists for the chance to study in Rome at the Royal Spanish Academy and Villa Medici. According to one contemporary newspaper account that described León’s success: “the work has the character of an Old Master, dignified and thoughtful . . . the posture of Saint Peter, the heads of Saint John and the mother, and, above all, the beautiful colors . . . it has excellent details and the wonderful depiction of the Savior…”

The work is an original with León quoting the figure of Saint Peter, on the far left, from Caravaggio’s Doubting Thomas. It shows the moment described in Mark 5:22 - 43:

22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?

36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.

Oil on canvas

50 x 60 in.

60 x 70 in., framed