(b. 1541, Candia, d. 1614, Toledo)

The Disrobing of Christ

Oil on canvas, 165 x 99 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

This canvas with its larger than life-size figures is one of three versions which El Greco painted of the subject. The impression of the artist's Venetian years, and particularly the works of Titian, can still be felt in the strictly centralized composition, in the relatively plastic modelling of the figures, and above all in the sophistication of the the palette. The way in which the figures below left are sliced by the frame, and the slight foreshortening empolyed in the figure of Christ, who appears to be leaning backwards into the picture, suggest that the canvas was destined to be hung at some height. If we consider in this regard the luminous red of Christ's robe, by which he is made to stand out from the crowd, and the multiple verticals of the figures and lances, the painting seems to point beyond its immediate subject to the coming ascension.