Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Tanya J Tiffany


bodegones, Murillo


For decades, the identity of the two women depicted in Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s Two Women at a Window has been unknown. Theories range from innocent flirtatious girls, to domestic servants, to prostitutes; I argue for the latter. Little has been done by scholars to prove that the two women are in fact representations of amorous women. In this thesis, I examine a plethora of sources including early modern moralist texts, current scholarship, and contemporaneous seventeenth century visuals. I argue that these two women are representations of Spanish prostitutes, sexually charged literary characters, or both, based largely on patronage, Netherlandish connections, and costume. For the first time, an in-depth analysis of Two Women at a Window will help to prove my argument.