How would you summarize "El Cuadro Mejor Vendido" by Gerardo Murillo?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This short story by Gerardo Murillo, whose artistic name is signed as "Dr. Atl," is about a talented artist who paints a vivid picture of the little town of Anáhuac. One of the inhabitants, a poor old lady who lived in a shack that the artist also captured, came over to ask whether she could look at the picture. 

She comments that the picture is more beautiful than the real passage. The artist offers to sell the painting to the lady. She is poor, so she cannot purchase it. He then offers to sell it to her for a mere 5 Mexican pesos.

The lady is shocked that the artist would be willing to sell it for so little, as the paint alone would have cost much more than that. The lady offers to keep the painting for a few days to just look at it, but the artist insists on selling it cheap. 

The lady takes the artist to her house, takes the five pesos in different coins out of a pot, and pays the artist. 

The artist feels very happy because the painting will be honored, and cherished more in the house of the old woman than in the most expensive gallery in the world. 

Another way to summarize the story, without the extra details, would be as follows:

An artist paints a vivid picture of a small town. An inhabitant admires the  picture, and the artist offers to sell the painting for five pesos. Even though it is a small amount of money, the artist prefers to sell it cheap to a true admirer of his art than to a gallery. 

"El Cuadro Mejor Vendido" translates into "The Best Selling Painting"; the title is ironic because the painting was sold for very cheap and to just one person. However, it would be the best sale the artist ever made, because he gave the painting to someone whose heart was as much in the painting as the artist's own heart was.

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