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

Christ Healing the Blind

1570s
Oil on canvas, 119 x 146 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Three versions of this subject are known, all basically the same in composition, but differing in treatment. The earliest, an unsigned panel in Dresden, is looser in composition, smaller in conception, and introduces genre motifs of a dog, sack and pitcher in the foreground, eliminated in subsequent versions. The second painting, now in Parma, probably also painted in Venice, is more easily composed. The third and largest painting, now in New York (possibly identical with the one in a Madrid collection at the time of Cossio's pioneer work on El Greco), with its comparative largeness of conception, belongs to his Roman period, after 1570. This version was earlier attributed to Tintoretto, then Veronese. In Madrid, there is also a 17th century copy of the painting.

The version in New York is the most sketchy in execution and is, in fact, unfinished. The two seated figures in the middle ground were so thinly painted that the pavement is visible through them.

Until recently there was a consensus of opinion that the New York version was the latest of the three treatments of the subject and possibly dated from El Greco's first years in Spain. However, in 1991 a number of scholars dated it between the Dresden and Parma pictures. The question of datation is open.




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