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Museums and Art

“Knight with a hand on his chest”, El Greco - description of the painting

“Knight with a hand on his chest”, El Greco - description of the painting

Knight with hand on his chest - El Greco. 81.8 x 65.8 cm.

Portrait works of El Greco - a separate page in the work of the famous painter. Strict and similar, monochrome with harmoniously distributed light accents, his portraits still carry a subtle and accurate characteristic of each of the characters.

The presented picture has several names: some call the courageous man from the canvas a knight, others a nobleman, and still others simply call the painting "Portrait of a Man with a Hand on His Chest".

It is believed that the work was created in 1580. Unfortunately, the life of El Greco is shrouded in secrets, and in the biography there are continuous white spots, so it is not possible to more accurately determine the date of writing.

The whole portrait is made in dark colors, the background is missing and almost merges with the figure of a man. During a recent restoration, it turned out that El Greco made the background brighter, however, over time, the light gray paint darkened.

The color accents are lace velvet cuffs and a high collar right under the throat, framing the elongated face of a portrait with a sharp triangular beard. The cuff draws attention to the man’s hand, you can neither pay attention to his long aristocratic fingers. Another bright element is the golden hilt of the sword. The epee indicates the wealth of the master, and the appearance is typical of the nobleman of the Golden Age of Spain. The strict face of a sleek man does not seem to express any emotions, however, he is surprised by deep, clever eyes that can tell both about the mind and about nobility.

Earlier it was suggested that the painting depicts none other than Cervantes, or even El Greco himself, although modern art historians agree that on the canvas is Juan de Silva i Ribera, Alcald and Marquis of Toledo. There is also debate about the meaning of the expressive gesture (hand on the chest) and there is also a pluralism of opinions - from the oath to some kind of secret gesture or even a conditional signal.

It is not known whether the signal reached the addressee, but the picture itself is quite well preserved, despite more than 400 years of age, and is now in Prado.


Watch the video: El Greco - Paintings by El Greco in the National Gallery of Art NGA, Washington,., USA. (January 2021).