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March 12, 2014

The World’s Largest El Greco Exhibit

By Sasha Levine | Art

The World’s Largest El Greco Exhibit
El Greco/ Church of Santo Tomé

It’s funny to think that an Old Master painter as famed as El Greco wasn’t always so renowned. Four hundred years after his death—and only a century since his rediscovery—Toledo, Spain, is showcasing his legacy during a year of notable events held in his honor.

The centerpiece of the celebration is “The Greek of Toledo” (March 14 to June 14), an exhibit on view at the Museum of Santa Cruz (Calle Miguel de Cervantes 3; 34-925/221-036) and sites throughout the city where the artist’s paintings were made, including the Vestry of Toledo Cathedral and Tavera Hospital.

More than a hundred works culled from collections around the world will be on display, comprising the largest exhibition of El Greco’s work ever held. Pieces like The Adoration of the Name of Jesus (National Gallery of London), View of Toledo (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) and The Burial of the Count of Orgaz (pictured here and from the Church of Santo Tomé in Toledo) show off his distinctive—and now celebrated—style.

Born in Crete as Domenikos Theotokopoulos, El Greco began living and painting in Toledo—the city that gave him his famous moniker and the inspiration for his best-known works—from 1577 until his death in 1614. Though widely unrecognized until the 20th century, he is now considered one of the more modern and innovative painters of the 16th and 17th centuries, famous for his dramatic palette and elongated figures. Though Greek by birth and Italian by training, he honed his technique in Toledo.

“We will try to change our 1900 view of El Greco’s somber and truculent images of emaciated saints for a new perspective on his paintings,” says curator Fernando Marías of the show’s ambitions. “[We will remember him] as a creator of new worlds never before seen.” For a full list of events visit elgreco2014.com.

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