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Art Diary

El Greco: Ambition and Defiance

Art Institute of Chicago

27 March 2020

While museums around the world are shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Apollo’s usual weekly pick of exhibition openings will be replaced by a selection of digital initiatives providing virtual access to art and culture.

Doménikos Theotokópolous (1541–1614), known as El Greco, was trained in Crete as a painter of Byzantine icons, later spending time in Venice, Rome, and Toledo. This exhibition of some 57 works – which was at the Grand Palais in Paris earlier this year – looks at how the master’s highly individual style developed at each stage of his career, and addresses the critical difficulties of how to categorise an artist who absorbed new influences everywhere he went. While closed, the museum has provided a range of materials online to bring the exhibition to you remotely, including a video tour with the curators, a selection of essays, and an in-depth interactive analysis of the Assumption of the Virgin, the masterpiece El Greco completed for the altarpiece of the Santo Domingo el Antiguo in Toledo, now in the Art Institute’s collection. Find out more from the Art Institute of Chicago’s website. 

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Screenshot from the video tour of ‘El Greco: Ambition & Defiance’ at the Art Institute of Chicago

Screenshot from the video tour of ‘El Greco: Ambition & Defiance’ at the Art Institute of Chicago

A Boy Blowing on an Ember to Light a Candle (El Soplón) (c. 1570), El Greco.

A Boy Blowing on an Ember to Light a Candle (El Soplón) (c. 1570), El Greco. Colomer Collection, Madrid

The Assumption of the Virgin (1577–79), El Greco

The Assumption of the Virgin (1577–79), El Greco. Art Institute of Chicago

Screenshot from the interactive feature on The Assumption of the Virgin (1577–79), El Greco

Screenshot from the interactive feature on The Assumption of the Virgin (1577–79)