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El Greco




El Greco (1541-1614). View of Toledo. (1599). Mannerism.



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El Greco (1541-1614). View of Toledo. (1599). Mannerism.

El Greco is one of largest representing mannerism. Although it of Greek origin and was born in Candie in Crete, Spanish painting owes him its world famous. Toledo is a city of the center of Spain, capital of the autonomous community of Castilla - Mancha chief town of province, on left bank of Tage, near Madrid. Set up on a headland with 732 m of altitude, Toledo overhang on 3 sides the deep throat dug by Tage and remain protected from the interior of the grounds by a double wall. The Franciscan church of San Juan of los Reyes and its very decorated cloister, was intended, at the origin, to receive the burial of Kings Catholics. Greco is fixed at Toledo as from 1580. It carries out the essence of its work there. It is of this time that date the sight of Toledo, around 1599, which represents the city in a strange atmosphere of storm full with mystery.

The point of view of the spectator is at the level of the church St John of the Kings.
The church is on the right tension field beside a natural point of interest. The gardens are on the lower tension field, between 2 natural points of interest, the sky occupies the 4th natural point of interest. The church and the sky are on 2 points of superior interests.
Nature and sky occupy of well delimited spaces. The city is the place which separates the sky from the ground. In this direction its position on the picture sublimates it.

The painting is built on the ascending diagonal. The city and part of the ramparts are located on this limit between sky and ground.
Details : 
The city is located at the edge of Tage. One perceives very well the bridge and the turns of duty.
In the foreground the river and water, with the second the city and ground with the background sky and air. The 3 elements are represented. Sign that work is an allegory.
The architecture of the city is detached in front of the sky, the arrow of the church springs towards the skies.
This sky of storm seems in anger. The atmosphere is almost fantastic, the sun lights the fabric between the clouds of a light which emphasizes especially the cold colors.
Light : 
The sun clarifies the city and the landscape between the clouds. The atmosphere is heavy as per stormy weather.

Colors : Harmonize between cold colors.

Similar pictures :
El Greco. Laocoon. (1610).
The scene represents Laocoon and its children luting against the snakes of Poséidon. 
With the background the town of Troy. At the end of the Trojan War, the Greeks built a giant wooden horse, which, under the appearance of one offering to the Athéna goddess, was actually used as hiding-place for the Greek soldiers. Laocoon, fearing a trick, in vain required of the Trojan chiefs to destroy the gift. While Troyens deliberated, Poséidon, in anger against Troy, sent two alarming specters on the coast. The snakes gained the place where Laocoon and its two sons were. Laocoon fought to release his/her children, but it failed, and the snakes strangled them all three. Troyens, persuaded that it was about a sign of the sky so that they are unaware of the warning of Laocoon inserted the horse in the city and contributed to their own destruction.
El Greco. The Sinai Mount. (1568). 
The Sinai mount is the mountain on which, according to the Old Testament, Moïse received from Yahvé the 10 commands. It is a peak in the rock mass which almost entirely composes the peninsula of the Sinai, in Egypt. The Sinai mount is a mountain crowned since Antiquity. It became a center of the Christian monachism with the establishment of the Holy-Catherine-of-Sinai monastery by the Justinien emperor 1st at the 6th century. The monastery appears here at the bottom of rock mount. Picture, as many painting of Gréco induces the idea of rise.