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

Portrait of a Man

1595-1600
Oil on canvas, 53 x 47 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This painting was identified for long time as a self-portrait and as such it became one of El Greco's most famous portraits. However, lacking certified portraits of the artist, the identification is only a plausible hypothesis based on the resemblance of the sitter to other figures in El Greco's paintings that have also been thought to record the artist's features. There are several assumed self-portraits of the artist included in his compositions from the early Healing of the Blind to the Burial of Count Orgaz, then to the Pentecost, Marriage of the Virgin and the Adoration of the Shepherds.

Regardless of the identification of the sitter, this is a fine and particularly compelling portrait by the artist, with the features painted with great sensitivity. The canvas has been trimmed on all sides. The signature on the painting proved to be false and was removed in 1947.




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