Sunday, December 21, 2014
El Greco in the National Gallery of Art and Washington-Area Collections: A 400th Anniversary Celebration
When: through February 16, 2015
This year is the 400th anniversary of El Greco's death, and the National Gallery has decided to mark the occasion by displaying several of their own El Greco paintings, along with three from other local collections.
The exhibit takes up only one room, so I had plenty of time to examine each work in detail. I've decided that El Greco is a sort of bridge between the Mannerist artists of the 1500s and the abstract painters of the 20th century, especially Picasso. His elongated figures, who often seem to be in tortured poses, remind me of the exaggerated people of the Mannerists, but also of Picasso's early work. It's not that El Greco's figures are completely abstract, but they're not completely realistic either.
If you like religious art, you'll find much to enjoy here; he lived during the Counter-Reformation in Spain, and his work reflects the religious fervor of the times.
Verdict: An interesting small show, nothing like as large as the El Greco retrospective I remember from 1982. You can see this and the lovely holiday decorations in the Rotunda in a lunch hour.