old art

Except that it isn't old at all.

We went to the Metropolitan today to visit El Greco's work. This awesome unfinished late masterpiece was there:
El Greco, The Opening of the Fifth Seal of the Apocalypse (1608-1614)

This much earlier very provocative youth, unaccountably (except perhaps for its need of restoration) was not:
El Greco, St. Sebastian (1580)

Except for a very sweet and human Virgin, a Magdalen, and a few other ancient saints, there are virtually no portraits of women among his works, although there are a great number of beautiful ecstatic saintly males and contemporary handsome men of all ages, described as his intellectual friends. El Greco never married, although he lived in the Spain of the Counter-Reformation. He is said to have had one illegitimate child, Jorge Manuel, who is represented by his father as a beautiful aristocratic artist in a painting which is part of this wonderful show.

[the first image from Princeton, the second from romansonline]

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The Virgin Mary ("Mater Dolorosa"), 1590s El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek, 1541–1614) Oil on canvas; 20 1/2 x 14... Read More

Did you see the beautiful portrait of the Spanish woman, which was the only female portrait in the room with all of the portraits of cardinals, bishops, and other men? She was the most spectacular of them all. Her skin was luminent and he painted her with the greatest detail. I couldn't take my eyes off of it! While all of the works in the show are pretty fantastic and many of his larger works are so provacative, I thought this portrait was among the best.

I saw it, yes, but, based on the visual evidence, and even after reading the Museum's text accompaning the painting, I dis not think I was looking at a work by El Greco. I could be wrong, but I saw nothing to suggest that the portrait to which you refer was done by the same man whose work filled that and the other rooms of the exhibition.

Interesting point. I will have to read the exhibition catalogue.

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Published on January 7, 2004 12:27 AM.

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