Toledo is a charming, walled ancient city set on a hill in central Spain with easy access from Madrid. It is a World Heritage city and the capital of the region, known for the medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments and museums. It is also the former home of Mannerist painter El Greco. The El Greco Museum is a must see while visiting this charming city. You can see El Greco’s Mannerist style of painting in the numerous paintings and sculptures on display.
Before you go, it is important to understand El Greco, who he was as an artist and his spiritualist style that he became famous for. El Greco was actually born in Crete but in Toledo he finally found his place as a painter and there was recognized as a true painter of his time. He was one of the most influential artists and considered a “painter of the spirit”.
Born in Crete, he eventually moved to Venice in 1567 to master Renaissance painting. He staged elaborate narratives with one of the most famous being the mural of Christ Healing the Blind. He moved to Rome but was never recognized as a great painter there, possibly due to his criticism of Michelangelo. He was ostracized in Rome.
In 1576 El Greco moved to Spain and eventually ended up making Toledo his home. There he finally was recognized as a great artist. He is immortalized to this day in Toledo and throughout all of Spain. His painting View from Toledo is one of his most famous pieces. He also was commissioned for three altarpieces for the Church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo but a dispute over price ensued and he never was commissioned for religious works again.
Later in his life, El Greco embraced the maneira self-conscious style of painting. Other artists rejected this style while he embraced it. He was the only Western artist to move the mentality and perception of the art world. With a spiritual basis for his work, he rejected perceptions of what art should be. El Greco was one of the few artists of the time willing to do so. He paintings reflected the use of unreal colors as well as elongated forms. He stated that “I paint because the spirits whisper madly inside my head”.
Many of El Greco works are on display at the El Greco Museum in the heart of the Jewish Quarter in Toledo. The museum opened in 1911 with an extensive collection. and houses many of his most famous paintings along with some of his sculptures. Two buildings house his works along with other 17th century Spanish painters. Definitely plan to visit the El Greco museum as well as many of the other museums and monuments in Toledo. You will love the art and the city.
For more information on Toledo and El Greco, visit Toledo/El Greco
For museum hours and information, visit El Greco Museum
For more information on visiting Toledo and the El Greco Museum, contact the experts at Tourist Office of Spain