National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: El Greco (Spanish, 1541–1614)

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image of Saint Jerome image of Christ at the Sea of Galilee
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Overview

The man known as El Greco was a Greek artist whose emotional style vividly expressed the passion of Counter-Reformation Spain. Here at the National Gallery is the most important collection of his work outside that country, which was his adopted home.

The haunting intensity of El Greco's paintings—resulting from their unnaturally long figures and strong contrasts of color and light—has invited a kind of mythmaking about his life and art. Following his death, El Greco's work fell into obscurity and, after its rediscovery in the nineteenth century, was often misunderstood. El Greco has been called a prophet of modern art, a mystic, and even a man whose sight was distorted by astigmatism, all misconceptions that have clouded understanding of his distinctive but deliberate style.

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chronology


Captions

1.
1El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Christ Cleansing the Temple, probably before 1570
2El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes, 1597/1599
3El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Saint Martin and the Beggar, 1597/1599
4El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Laocoön, c. 1610/1614
5El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), The Holy Family with Saint Anne and the Infant John the Baptist, c. 1595/1600
6El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Saint Ildefonso, c. 1603/1614
2.
7El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Saint Jerome, c. 1610/1614
8Jacopo Tintoretto, Christ at the Sea of Galilee, c. 1575/1580