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

Mount Sinai

1568
Tempera on panel, 37 x 23,8 cm
Galleria Estense, Modena

The picture shows the back of the central panel of the Modena Triptych. The theme of Mount Sinai was of Cretan origin, and faithfully repeats a traditional Byzantine model. The reference to Saint Catherine in both the central panels has been suggested as a possible indication of the artist's connection in Crete with the monastery of Saint Catherine, a dependency of that of Mount Sinai, and the most important school of painting in the island.

The Modena Triptych does contain motifs and compositions that he later develops. The subjects of the Annunciation, Adoration of the Shepherds and Baptism inspire some of El Greco's grandest works. The Allegory of the Christian Knight is appropriately recollected in the Allegory of the Holy League. The Byzantine image of Mount Sinai is not unreasonably brought to mind in front of the late Toledo.




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