Tuesday, April 24, 2007

El Greco and the Immaculate Conception (1585)

GRECO, El (b. 1541, Candia, d. 1614, Toledo)
The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception and St John c. 1585
Oil on canvas, 237 x 118 cm
Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo

The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was very highly venerated on the Spanish mainland. This was even more noticeable after the Council of Trent.

Up to the end of the seventeenth century, the Virgin was dressed in a pink robe and blue mantle, as the Virgin’s robes were described in the Scripture.

The painting`s theme is based on Saint John's Vision of the Apocalypse:

'And there appeared a great wonder in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, . . . And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne . . .' (Revelation, xii).

The twelve stars have been omitted in the painting.