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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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El Greco's Immaculate Conception reveals timeless truths about life and continuity. We are all born and continue the line started long before us. Through a mother and father, each of us shares a connection with the rest of humanity.

El Greco, whose actual name was Doménikos Theotokópoulos, was in born in 1541. He was a son of Crete but his artistic career took him far from home and he passed on April 7, 1614, in Toledo, Spain. He is regarded as an ace of Spanish painting, whose exceptionally individual emotional and expressionistic style met with the puzzlement of his peers. While he experienced his fair share of conflict regarding his artistic style in his own time, his paintings have been appreciated in the twentieth century. He likewise functioned as a stone carver and as a planner.

Immaculate Conception is otherwise called The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. To look at El Greco's composition in its authentic setting is to examine the various religious, philosophical, political and social issues of the time. As the substance of the display is analysed, the work of this sixteenth-century Greek bears the permanent engravings of the push for greater spirituality in society. El Greco utilises strategies which can be compared to twentieth-century workmanship, yet these are applied for altogether unique reasons. He was a sharp student of kindred specialists in art, for example, Michelangelo and Tintoretto, and his depictions are peppered with references to their work.

El Greco's St John thinks about the Immaculate Conception was completed around 1607 and may be viewed in the Museum of Santa Cruz (Holy Cross), Toledo, Spain. El Greco made this artistic creation amid one of his most intense times of productive work. As with several other artists, his work seemed to flourish a few years before his demise in 1614. The Spanish city of Toledo was El Greco's artistic home and he painted a considerable number of the works that are so famous today right there.

The city was in the fanatical hold of the Counter-Reformation, as the Spanish specialists looked to reaffirm Catholicism even with difficulties from Islam and Protestantism. El Greco, with his solid religious confidence, and his foundation in Byzantine and Renaissance traditions, started to pass on a deep sense of spirituality through his work. Mary's life was not without conflict and her reality from the Immaculate Conception to her wonderful Assumption into paradise is displayed in the painting. The artist seems to make the claim that the fulfillment of her journey is made possible through her enduring obedience to God. The Spirit of the Love of God is captured in the colours El Greco chooses to use in the upper half of the painting.

While symbolic artwork often indicates the joys and struggles of the religious soul, El Greco masterfully utilised the systems he had aced in Italy to show it. His figures appear to flash upwards like blazes, their bodies lengthened and weightless. Shadows and point of view are practically discarded. The artist's use of light is such that it appears to exude from the people themselves, who are frequently encompassed by murkiness. His artistic creation, The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, demonstrates the ascendance from the natural to the otherworldly. Blooms are added at the base and Mary is not alone in the painting. Figures move towards the brilliant circle. This is a symbol of the Counter-Reformation's call to spurn excessive preoccupation with material things and aim for relationship with Christ. El Greco's depictions were popular as altarpieces in Toledo's holy places.

Some viewers focus on the Immaculate Conception aspect of the painting but it also alludes to Mary's Assumption. The otherworldly fervor of the scene is reflected in meteorological symbols like the sun and moon which sparkle at the same time. Blasts of light burst through the mists like fire. El Greco uses anatomical precision in his work to an extent. Where necessary, he does away with that to meet his objectives of visionary experience. Roses, lilies and a wellspring of clear water are placed at the foot of the work of art. A perspective of Toledo shows up on the left. His work is both natural and mysterious.