National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Christ Cleansing the Temple El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)
El Greco (painter)
Greek, 1541 - 1614
Christ Cleansing the Temple, probably before 1570
oil on panel
overall: 65.4 x 83.2 cm (25 3/4 x 32 3/4 in.) framed: 87.6 x 106.7 x 7.6 cm (34 1/2 x 42 x 3 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
On View
From the Tour: El Greco
Object 1 of 8

At the center of a crowded throng, Christ wields a whip to drive money-changers, merchants, and beggars from the temple. Before the Counter-Reformation, when the church undertook to rid itself of heresy and improper practices, the biblical story was seldom depicted. This is the earliest of several versions El Greco made of the subject and was painted while he was in Venice. The confusing architectural setting and awkward poses of several figures show El Greco still assimilating the pictorial space of western-style painting. But it also indicates that he had adopted the rich colors and sketchy, unblended brushwork of his Venetian teachers. El Greco signed this painting, as he did throughout his career, with his name in Greek characters.

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