El Greco from Toledo

El Greco. View of Toledo. Circa 1596–1600. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Spain – On September 4, the exhibition Toledo 1900. El Greco, devoted to the history of the ancient Spanish city Toledo and creativity of the celebrated painter El Greco who became one of the brightest pages of this history is opened in Saragossa. The exhibition is organized under the auspices of the The Caja Castilla-La Mancha (CCM) fund. It took place in the restored Paraninfo hall at the Saragossa University. The exhibition included a series of exhibits anyhow connected with the history of the city: books, documents, photos of Mariano Moreno, painting by Joaquín Sorolla, and also 27 works by El Greco and his apprentices.

All the artist’s pictures were provided by the private and public city collections. Among them is a series of unique, world famous works, in particular, a group of portraits of brothers Covarrubias, sons of the architect who had constructed a city cathedral.

El Greco, the Greek by birth (his real name is Dominicus Theotokopoulos) was born on Crete Island which in those days was a part of the Venetian Republic and was considered as the centre of the Byzantium art. He was fond of art since his childhood. He studied the elements of painting in a workshop of Greek icon painter Michael Damaskinos. According to the old tradition when El Greco was 26 years old he traveled to Venice where he became Titian’s apprentice. In 1570 he settled in Rome where he established a workshop and created a series of early works. The days spent in the capital enriched the El Greco’s creative style with elements of mannerism and art of the Venetian Renaissance. He became famous as the talented portraitist, got patrons as well as many enemies.

El Greco left for Spain to serve for King Phillip II in 1576. He settled in Toledo which was, in those days, the centre of the Spanish art and education. It was this city where the artist created the celebrated canvas Burial of Count Orgas (1586), which made him famous and provided great number of orders which, in the majority were made by church.

Nowadays scientists recognize that the style of El Greco combining traditions of the Byzantian and European painting is so individual that it cannot be attributed to any of the traditional schools. Contemporaries often did not appreciate expressional, dramatic painting, however, it found many followers in the art of the 20th century. El Greco is considered the forerunner of such trends as Cubism and Expressionism. His life and work became a source of inspiration for many artists, writers and poets of the European modernism.

The exhibition will be opened till November, 30.

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Published in: on October 24, 2008 at 8:07 am  Leave a Comment  

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