Celebration of El Greco Year in Athens

Yesterday was the opening of the exhibition 'Friends and Patrons of El Greco in Toledo' at Benaki Museum in Athens.

To mark the 400th anniversary of El Greco’s death, the Greek State has declared 2014 El Greco Year. Major exhibitions, conferences and varied events dedicated to the great artist are being held in Greece, throughout the world and above all in Spain, where El Greco spent the greater part of his life.

The exhibition 'Friends and Patrons of El Greco in Toledo' is organized on this occasion and is focused on the presentation of the intellectuals, collectors and patrons who constituted El Greco’s personal close circle in Toledo, inspiring and supporting him, throughout his creative journey.

The exhibition comprises important archival material from archives in Toledo (Archivo Municipal de Toledo, Archivo Provincial de Toledo, Biblioteca de Castilla-La Mancha) and Madrid (Archivo Historico de Protocolos de Madrid), manuscripts and books from the National Library of Spain (Biblioteca Nacional de Espana), as well as four portraits of El Greco from the collections of the Museo del Prado, the Museo del Greco in Toledo as well as from a private collection in London.

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich scientific publication, edited by Art Historian Nikos Hadjinikolaou (Professor Emeritus of the University of Crete).
Exhibition curators: Richard Kagan (Professor, John Hopkins University, Baltimore), Nikos Hadjinikolaou

Another exhibition of the artist is coming up at Benaki Museum on the 21st of November as part of El Greco Year: Domenikos Theotokopoulos between Venice and Rome.

The exhibition was this summer at the Historical Museum of Crete, the birthplace of Domenikos Theotokopoulos.

From a very young age, Domenicos Theotokopoulos excelled as an artist in Venetian Candia (present-day Heraklion), at the time the Cretan School was at its zenith. Thus equipped, the young Cretan left in 1576 for Venice, the mother city, where he attended the workshop of the famed Titian. In 1570 he moved to Rome, remaining until at least 1573. In 1577 he settled in Toledo, where he was to stay until the end of his life. It was then that he created his most important works.

The exhibition is dedicated to the artist’s Italian period. Taking the two paintings on permanent exhibition at the Historical Museum of Crete as its focal point – View of Mt. Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine (c. 1570, owned by the Andreas and Maria Kalokerinos Foundations) and The Baptism of Christ (c. 1569, owned by the Municipality of Heraklion) – the broader artistic milieu is recreated. Relevant works from 16th century Cretan icon painting are on display, as well as similarly themed works by Western artists. The human milieu surrounding Theotokopoulos is recreated in parallel, with his noted patrons, and the major artists he became associated with during his time in Italy, at a time when the recognition, support and protection of prominent personages was essential to an artist’s survival and advancement. The historical figures presented in the exhibition are the powerful cardinal Alessandro Farnese, at whose palace on Rome El Greco stayed for two years; his librarian Fulvio Orsini; and the famed miniaturist Giulio Clovio, who, in a letter to Cardinal Farnese, described Theotokopoulos as “a rare case in painting”.

The exhibition presents major paintings and engravings from museums and private collections in Greece and abroad: the Galleria Uffizi (Florence); Pinacoteca Vaticana (Rome); Münchner Stadtmuseum (Munich); Kupferstichkabinett (Berlin); Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica (Rome); the Historical Museum; the Byzantine and Christian Museum (Athens);the Gennadius Library; the Zosimaia Library; the Archdiocese of Crete; the Marianna Latsi Collection.
Works to be exhibited for the first ever time in Greece include The Adoration of the Shepherds held by the Agnes Etherington Art Center (Kingston, Ontario, Canada); Portrait of Guilio Clovio by Sofonisba Anguissola, from the Malgeri-Zeri Collection (Rome); and a Portrait of Fulvio Orsini by an unknown artist, from the Uffizi Gallery Museum (Florence). The exhibition is complemented by a wealth of archive material, books and documentary evidence.

Both exhibitions are until the 1st March 2015. For opening hours and more information visit www.benaki.gr

Also in Spain there are several exhibitions on El Greco, The Greek of Toledo. For more information visit www.elgreco2014.com

Laskaris, a greek designer, inspired by the work of El Greco, will present tomorrow his winter 2014-2015 collection. Can't wait to see it!
Celebration of El Greco Year in Athens Celebration of El Greco Year in Athens Reviewed by Patricia Munster on 1:36:00 AM Rating: 5

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