Crucifixion El Greco Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

El Greco's paints a vivid picture of death and life in "Crucifixion". This painting, which was completed in 1600, demonstrates the artist's command of form. His use of colour draws viewers into the painting, even as some are likely to contemplate man's inhumanity to man.

Fatal torture and sacrifice are themes which are explored here. Pain and hope are also seen, as onlookers throng the dying Christ. El Greco has a tendency to combine realism with supernatural tones. His figures here have a quality which elevates them to another realm. In their expression, they represent vast numbers of people who react to Christ's sacrifice in the way they are shown to do in "Crucifixion".

El Greco's work in Toledo often had significant spiritual content. The main players in politics at that time were concerned with the spiritual life of the community. As such, they pushed to have people focus more on the eternal and less on things that would pass in weeks or years.

Christ on the Cross, with the Virgin and Saint John, has eternal significance. At the moment of death, Christ introduces mankind to eternal salvation. While the painting portrays slow, painful torture, it also displays loving sacrifice and the possibility of a better life.

At the foot of the Cross, viewers see a figure who is quite possibly the Magdalene. Most times she is portrayed as a figure representing those who are most cognisant of the painful effects man's vices have had on human life. While Christ's death may be painful to watch, it opens the doorway to her peace.

The figure of Christ is focused upwards. Figures of angels and human beings are positioned around the cross in the focal zone. Pairings include that of the Annunciation with the Flames and the Dove. The figure of the Archangel Gabriel has its partner in the figure of Saint John. The woman of Joy is included there to match the woman who is in Grief.

This work of art of the Crucifixion is one of the considerable elucidations of the subject in painting. It unavoidably infers two other awesome Crucifixions. These are, Grünewald's of the Isenheim Altar and Giotto's of the Arena Chapel. El Greco is known for religious artwork and has presented a greater number of those images epitomising profound feelings.

The clamouring heavenly attendants in "Crucifixion" with outstretched arms surrounding the Body of Christ are significant. They know the purpose of Christ's physical death and are seeing the fulfillment of one stage of His mission on earth. Execution was a generally utilised type of death as a penalty in Roman circumstances. It was regular to express the cause of punishment or the censured man's offense at the highest point of the cross. In the painting, viewers see this in the upper third of the design. Over his head in 3 distinct dialects, Christ's supposed wrongdoing is depicted. However, all that can be written is "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."

In the painting we see a city which is really Toledo. This was where El Greco lived and worked. Since paintings were commissioned by the ruling authorities there, it is fair to think that it may have a dual meaning and may also be deciphered as Jerusalem. The towers are extended perhaps to encourage inhabitants of the city to aim for high ideals. The structures are laid out in white.

Around then Toledo was in a condition of decay, yet was still viewed as the profound legislative center of Spanish Catholicism, pulling in craftsmen and researchers. The Catholic church and the Hapsburgs were Spain's most vital supporters of art. A lot of Spanish craftsmanship is religious. The paintings done by El Greco and other famous artists of that time were expected to move devout considerations and conduct in the people.

El Greco ingested the Spanish magic and religious intensity of the time. He poured all of the fervour and the push for change into his paintings. His work has a lot of energy in the brushstrokes and his use of colour. Onlookers can only imagine what it was like to create art during that intense period, knowing that it would have some impact on the lives of the people he lived and worked among.