National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)
El Greco (painter)
Greek, 1541 - 1614
Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes, 1597/1599
oil on canvas, wooden strip added at bottom
overall: 193.5 x 103 cm (76 3/16 x 40 9/16 in.) framed: 221 x 136.5 x 12.1 cm (87 x 53 3/4 x 4 3/4 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.26
On View
From the Tour: El Greco
Object 2 of 8

Conservation Notes

In structure and condition this painting is almost identical to its companion piece, Saint Martin and the Beggar (1942.9.25). The support is a single piece of twill-weave linen with an unusual diamond-weave pattern, lined to a plain-weave fabric. The tacking edges have been removed, but the original format was retained. The wooden strip attached to the bottom is a later addition. The gypsum ground and the two layers of reddish-brown imprimatura do not hide the weave texture. The artist utilized a variety of techniques, from wet-on-wet to scumbling. Exceptionally thick impasto can be noted on the face of Saint Martina and on the draperies of the virgin martyrs and angels. X-radiographs reveal an important change in the head of Saint Martina. A profile view of her head is visible immediately to the right of the upturned countenance in the completed painting. The features of the two faces are the same, but they are projected from different points of view. Originally, Martina's head was upright and her gaze directly focused on Agnes. The painting was taken off a panel stretcher (perhaps original) and relined in 1942.

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