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

The Annunciation

Oil on canvas, 114 x 67 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

This painting is a remarkably fine reduced replica of one of El Greco's most haunting images, the Annunciation in the Prado, Madrid, that is almost three times as large. The Prado Annunciation formed the centre of the elaborate altarpiece commissioned from the artist in 1596 for the Colegio de Doña María de Aragón. El Greco's habit of making reduced replicas is amply documented. It is common knowledge that El Greco kept smaller, preliminary versions of almost all his works at home to show to his customers, and that he considered them finished, definitive works in themselves.