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

The Baptism of Christ

1608-28
Oil on canvas, 330 x 211 cm
Hospital Tavera, Toledo

The altarpiece for the church of Hospital Tavera (also called Hospital de San Juan Bautista or Hospital de Afuera) was left unfinished at Greco's death. (It is a later development of the subject realized in the retable of the Colegio de Doña María de Aragón in Madrid.) Besides the Baptism of Christ, there existed at the time a Descent of the Holy Ghost, a Holy Family, a St Philip and a St John with the Lamb. All these paintings have disappeared. Beneath the Baptism of Christ are two landscapes (the only known landscapes by El Greco besides the view of Toledo in New York), but they were completely painted over by his son Jorge Manuel (who completed the Baptism after Greco's death) and have not yet been uncovered.




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