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

Portrait of the Artist's Son Jorge Manuel Theotokopoulos

c. 1603
Oil on canvas, 74 x 51,5 cm
Museo de Bellas Artes, Seville

Long thought to be a self-portrait by El Greco, this painting is now universally agreed to represent the painter's son, Jorge Manuel Theotokopoulos (1578-1631).

Jorge Manuel appears about the same age as in the Virgin of Charity, painted 1603-05, that is, when he was twenty-five to twenty-seven years old. The young gentleman, of a certain aristocratic mien, displays elegantly the tools of his craft. It is one of his most splendid portraits, but it is with difficulty that one relates the personality to that of the Saint Luke. Jorge Manuel was not a remarkable painter like his father.

Here El Greco depicts his son as an artist and at the same time as a member of the upper class. In the eyes of his Spanish contemporaries, an artist's palette and a ruff collar were still incompatible. By 1900, in contrast, artists were attending academies and the most successful among them enjoyed high social status.




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