El Greco's "View Of Toledo".

Essay by libra092680University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2003

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As a student of art history, going to a museum is the only way to fully experience a work of art. By looking at a painting or a sculpture in a book or on a slide, one cannot fully experience the work of art. By visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on Saturday, March 29th, I was able to look at paintings that dated from centuries old to recent times. One particular painting that was appealing to me was in room number twenty-nine. The painting, an oil on canvas, which measures 47 ¾ X 42 ¾ inches, is entitled View of Toledo by an artist named El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). It was painted in 1597-9. The painting itself appears to be in excellent condition. There did not appear to be any discolorations, surface cracks or chipped paint.

View of Toledo depicts "the only independent landscape by the artist that survives.

He has imaginatively reconfigured the city, showing the cathedral not in its actual position but to the left of the Alcázar palace". However, since that was not Toledo's natural skyline, I cannot help to wonder why the city is placed so far to the right and off center of the canvas. The Gothic-like cathedral and palace rest high atop a hill, surrounded by a gorge and a river. This was El Greco's expression of his beloved city, Toledo, which he had made his home for nearly forty years.

I felt very drawn to El Greco's View of Toledo because it is a very dramatic painting. To some, it may simply look like a landscape, but El Greco's very painterly


technique, using very loose brush strokes and his use of color sets the tone for mystery, invigoration and disaster. While others during his time...