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View Of Toledo

Painting, 1599, 121.3×108.6 cm

Description of the artwork «View Of Toledo»

The researchers suspected the painting of El Greco "View of Toledo" in that it was once part of another, larger, canvas and have been looking for proof of that. After all, the tradition of painting landscapes without reference to any plot unfolding in the background, at the time when he lived and worked the painter, did not exist. For example, such alarming ominous landscape could serve as a suitable backdrop for religious scenes of Christ's crucifixion. But, as no trace of this version and was not found, the critics had to surrender and accept the fact that the "View of Toledo" is one of the first specimens of the European landscape as a separate genre.

Home sweet home
The Spanish city of Toledo by chance became the main character of landscape, written by El Greco. It became the new home for the artist born in Crete and spent his formative years in Venice and Rome. El Greco moved here in 1577, and only some half dozen years earlier, this city was the residence of the Spanish kings, until by a decree of Philip II that it was not a move to Madrid.

Toledo has a long and interesting history, which dates back to the first centuries of our era. For three centuries it was the capital of the Visigoths, and then in 712 conquered by the Moors. It was during their rule the city experienced its heyday: due to the deposits of iron ore was adjusted steel production, it gradually became an important religious centre. Attracting the brightest minds and thinkers of that time.

A wayward artist, did not meet with understanding and acceptance in Rome of order here. Was able to open a workshop and to obtain a sufficient number of orders for portraits and decoration of the local churches, not to live in poverty and have the opportunity to practice the skill. In Toledo El Greco will write their best works, the fame of which gradually spread throughout Spain. Will find, and his last resting place.

In 1986, the city entered into the world heritage List of UNESCO. Among other attractions, tourists from all over the world tend to visit the El Greco Museum, which houses an extensive collection of his paintings.

Everything goes according to plan
To our days have survived two separate image views of Toledo brush of El Greco. Later, "View and plan of Toledo", dates from the year 1610. On the cutting edge, the painter has placed a young man with parchment in hands. On it, in addition to the urban plan stated in the title, is there an explanation (made, presumably, by the son of El Greco the painter, Jorge Manuel) non-compliance location of real buildings where they were identified by the author. As a customer of paintings was organized by the hospital San Juan de Afuera that it is the painter depicted in the foreground (and schematically, in the form of layout) and spread to all adjacent buildings on the sides.

In the case of the painting "View of Toledo" such inconsistencies even more. But to explain the arbitrary treatment of the original this time no one bothered. And we can only guess why El Greco "rebuilt" at its discretion the bridge and moved the river channel to the right than it is in reality; made the hills steeper and the grass thicker and greener.

One of the most common versions – the painter allegedly sought to document the actual landscape, but to capture the essence of a mystical image of the city. For this reason, the painting is sometimes referred to as a "spiritual portrait" of Toledo. If so, then El Greco saw him formidable, not to say threatening.

Pastoral bliss of the picturesque landscape with ancient castles and buildings, lush emerald greens, opposed to the sky wave, as the darkened sea in front of the impending storm. The canvas breathes a close anticipation of the storm, and if long enough to stare, I begin to feel filled the air smell of ozone.

Painting of El Greco "View of Toledo" is more than just a statement of landscape or a fleeting impression, which could appeal to a landscape in the hands of the impressionist. Like the vast majority of other canvases of the painter, the work possesses a distinct hypnotic effect – either due to a rhythm in Mannerist flowing lines on the ground or phantasmagoric kaleidoscope unfolding in the sky.

Author: Natalia Azarenka
I like32 To the selection35
About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape

Style of art: Mannerism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1599

Size: 121.3×108.6 cm

Artwork in selections: 35 selections