Essay, Research Paper: El Greco`s "Burial Of Count"

Art

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This painting is the Burial of Count Orgaz by El Greco (the Geek) his real name
Domenikos Theotocopoulos. It hangs on the wall in the vestibule of the church of
Santo Tome in Toledo, Spain and was painted in 1586. It is oil on canvas and was
made to fit the very wall it hangs today. The painting does have a Round top
making it a very odd fit for anywhere but the church for it to hang. The artist
used many dark shades Blue and blacks with yellow and red in the items of
importance and detail. White was very common. There was only one other color
sort of hid in the robe of St Augastine,Green. He put alot of details in the
things that he wanted the audience to pay attention to. The cross for example on
the middle right, the keys to the gates of heaven held by saint peter on the top
left and a nice touch with the priest with the skull on his rob on the bottom
right. This is the first completely personal work by the artist. There are no
longer any references to Roman or Venetian formulas or motifs. He has succeeded
in eliminating any description of space. There is no ground, no horizon, no sky
and no perspective. Accordingly, there is no conflict, and a convincing
expression of a supernatural space is achieved. The painting has a couple of
oddities with the boy pointing to the seal on the St. Stephen's robe but his
other hand is sort of contorted. The faces of the people seem to be stuck here
and there and don’t seem to be natural flowing like a crowd should be in the
mist of a vision .We get a glimpse of the artist above St Augustine’s Hat as
he looks up at his own art. And the boy is his son turns out to be his son. The
painting is very clearly divided into two zones, the heavenly above and the
terrestrial below, but there is little feeling of duality. The upper and lower
zones are brought together compositionally (e.g., by the standing figures, by
their varied participation in the earthly and heavenly event, by the torches,
cross, etc. The grand circular mandorla-like pattern of the two Saints descended
from Heaven echoes the pattern formed by the Virgin and Saint John the Baptist,
and the action is given explicit expression. The point of equilibrium is the
outstretched hand poised in the void between the two Saints, whence the mortal
body descends, and the Soul, in the medieval form of a transparent and naked
child, is taken up by the angel to be received in Heaven. The supernatural
appearance of the Saints is enhanced by the splendor of color and light of their
gold vestments. The powerful cumulative emotion expressed by the group of
participants is suffused and sustained through the composition by the splendor,
variety and vitality of the color and of light. The painting illustrates a
popular local legend. In 1312, a certain Don Gonzalo Ruiz, native of Toledo, and
Señor of the town of Orgaz, died (the family received the title of Count, by
which he is generally known, only later). He was a pious man who, among other
charitable acts, left moneys for the enlargement and adornment of the church of
Santo Tome (El Greco's parish church). At his burial, Saint Stephen and Saint
Augustine intervened to lay him to rest. The occasion for the commission of the
painting for the chapel, in which the Señor was buried, was the resumption of
the tribute payable to the church by the town of Orgaz, which had been withheld
for over two centuries. All in all a very interesting piece of art. Though he is
kind of a nock off of Michelangelo.

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