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El Greco

Overview

El Greco (1541–1614), born Domenikos Theotokopoulos, was one of the most fascinating and distinctive artists of the sixteenth century. His works are immediately recognizable for their brilliant colors, elongated figures, and spiritual intensity.

Initially trained in Crete, in around 1567 El Greco moved to Italy where he purportedly studied with Titian. A decade later he is documented in Toledo (south of Madrid), and he spent the rest of his long life in Spain. His paintings and ...

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Overview

El Greco (1541–1614), born Domenikos Theotokopoulos, was one of the most fascinating and distinctive artists of the sixteenth century. His works are immediately recognizable for their brilliant colors, elongated figures, and spiritual intensity.

Initially trained in Crete, in around 1567 El Greco moved to Italy where he purportedly studied with Titian. A decade later he is documented in Toledo (south of Madrid), and he spent the rest of his long life in Spain. His paintings and writings offer a thoughtful, frequently inspired response to the varied environments in which he worked—and they reveal that he was deeply engaged with the religious and artistic thinking of his times.

This lavishly illustrated book—the first comprehensive English-language publication on El Greco in many years—addresses the full range of the artist’s work in painting and sculpture, from his Byzantine icons to his late altarpieces. It considers his personality from both a religious and intellectual point of view, and presents the artist’s religious, mythological, genre, landscape, and portrait works, providing the historical context in which they were made.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Essential reading for anyone interested in the life and times of this ever-modern-looking 16th-century ecstatic.” —Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune

“El Greco’s towering achievements [are] chronicled in both gloriously rich colorplates and fresh commentary. . . . This magnificent volume renews and deepens appreciation for a master painter for all time and all faiths.”—Booklist

“Splendidly produced [and] . . . a pleasure to read.”—Victoria Keller, The Art Book

Library Journal
As is the exhibition, this catalog of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's El Greco show in New York is both inclusive and intelligently selective. In providing a vivid conspectus to the total range of this painter-genius, the authors give appropriate emphasis to the religious works. Not slighted, however, are his equally sublime exertions as a painter of mythologies, portraits, and landscapes. Although written by a variety of scholars, each of the 83 catalog entries, accompanying 175 color illustrations, is marked by a sense that these small studies should inform but not overwhelm a nonspecialist audience. These sensitively achieved ministudies are framed and complemented by essays that place the artist in his time and also articulate a sense of the artist and his development. Elliott's (modern history, emeritus, Oxford Univ.) contextual study extends our understanding of the Mediterranean milieu in which the artist developed; Davies's (Univ. Coll., Univ. of London) excellent contributions proffer the willing novice a particularly artful appreciation of the master's development and of the spiritual and aesthetic environment that informed his labors. At a moment when catalogs are marred by an excessiveness that makes them difficult to pick up and unlikely to be read, this volume should be embraced by collections that truly wish to serve and illumine their public. [In February the show travels to the National Gallery, London, which coorganized the exhibition.-Ed.]-Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Tech., New York Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781857099386
  • Publisher: National Gallery London
  • Publication date: 2/8/2005
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.52 (w) x 12.72 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

David Davies is a preeminent El Greco scholar who taught at Birkbeck and University College, University of London. Sir John Elliott is Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Oxford. Gabriele Finaldi is curatorial director of the Museo Nacional del Prado. Keith Christiansen is curator of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Xavier Bray is an assistant curator at the National Gallery, London.

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Table of Contents

Sponsor's Foreword 7
Directors' Foreword 9
Acknowledgements 14
El Greco's Mediterranean: The Encounter of Civilisations 19
Chronology 32
El Greco's Religious Art: The Illumination and Quickening of the Spirit 45
Catalogue 73
References 295
Bibliography 301
List of Lenders 313
Index 315
Photographic Credits 319
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