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Adoration of the shepherds
This is a very important work within Greco's production as it was intended for his own burial chapel in Santo Domingo el Antiguo, Toledo. In 1618, the artist's son did not reach an agreement with the nuns about the rent to be paid for the crypt and Greco's mortal remains were removed to San Torcuato Church, lost at present.
It was later transferred to the high altar.
This passage of Gospel had been already been depicted by Greco before.
This ecstatic painting is one of the artist's most colourful works. Light radiates from the Child and the dazzling white cloth on which He lies, illuminating the figures of Virgin and the amazed shepherds.
From the very outset of his career El Greco had been interested in the problem of light: his early work Youth Blowing a Charcoal is primarily an exploration of the way in which a flaring light is reflected by the features of the face.
When he painted The Adoration of the Shepherds, light was no longer used for its own sake but as a means to convey an idea.
The words of the Pantocrator are occasionally to be found in Romanesque churches, usually inscribed in the apse, thus: Lux mundi (the Light of the World).
In El Greco's picture this theme is now perfectly expressed in purely pictorial terms.
The elongated figures, like tongues of fire, and all the indications of enthusiasm, faith and passion, are characteristic of a number of Mannerist painters but especially of El Greco.
These characteristic features of El Greco's art are clearly seen in this beautifully realized creation which constitutes as it were a link between the Gothic style and modern art of the 20th century.
Эль Греко
El Greco
Толедо: монастырь св. Доминика (~1614 - )
Toledo: monastery of St Dominic (Santo Domingo El Antiguo)

Мадрид: музей Прадо

Madrid: Museo del Prado
The subject originates in St Luke's, who narrates how an angel of the Lord stood by the shepherds to bring them the Good News and how the shepherds came to the crib to adore the Child.
Greco's religious works often show the stage divided into two areas: earthly and heavenly sectors.
At the lower part, Maria, Joseph and three shepherds form a circle around the Child.
Above, a chorus of angels hold a phylactery with the inscription: "GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO ET IN TERRA PAX".
The figure of the Child becomes a symbolic light focus irradiating its brightness, more or less intense, to the rest of the figures. Light thus originates arbitrary shapes that break the characters' natural contours.
The brief architectural reference, rare in this kind of Greco's religious works, has been used to open the space backwards into the canvas and to act as a linking point between earth and heaven. The general composition could be inscribed within a rising zigzag strengthenedby the lit areas.
The general colouring is warmer than usual in Greco's works in which the painter was deliberately looking for coldness and sourness by way of colours.
Холст, масло.
Oil on canvas.
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