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

View and Plan of Toledo

c. 1610
Oil on canvas, 132 x 228 cm
Museo de El Greco, Toledo

El Greco painted several views of Toledo. Seen beneath mountainous clouds the city stirred his imagination and in this painting, as in others, the representation includes an element of fantasy and is not strictly accurate. In the El Greco Museum there is a painting in which a young man is seen holding up a map of the city. The map partially corrects the view of the city in which, to improve the composition as the inscription tells us, El Greco gave the Hospital of Don Juan Tavera a central place in the picture; transferring it from its actual setting so that the façade could be shown without blocking out the other important buildings. In the upper part of the picture there is a scene in which the Virgin presents a vestment to St Ildefonso. The landscape is painted in brownish-green and blue tints, and the mythological and religious elements are minimal; with his pictures of Toledo El Greco created the Spanish landscape, a branch of art which was nevertheless neglected until the emergence of Velázquez.

It is sometimes supposed that the young man is a portrait of El Greco's son, who was, however, at least thirty years old at that time.