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

An Elderly Gentleman

Oil on canvas, 44 x 42 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

The sitter is presented simply, against a grey background, close to the picture plane and looking directly at the spectator. There is no detail or modelling in the costume, with the exception of the stiff white ruff. In spite of its unusual square format, there is no reason to think that this portrait has been reduced in height. The apparent absence of any artifice or rhetoric makes this one of El Greco's most engaging portraits.

The dates proposed for the portrait range between 1584 and 1600, illustrating how much more difficult it is to date El Greco's portraits than his subject pictures.

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