El Greco Museum, Toledo, Spain

Category: Toledo

Are you planning to enjoy a relaxing holiday in beautiful Spain—a trip that will include a visit to the wonderful city of Toledo?  Could you benefit from some ideas with regard to some of the interesting places to see in the city during your visit?  Although quite small when compared to other Spanish cities, such as Barcelona and Madrid, the city of Toledo, which is located approximately 45 miles from the Spanish capital, makes up for its diminutive size with an abundance of popular tourist destinations.  One of these visitor hot spots is the Museo de El Greco, a museum built in honor of the famous artist El Greco, a genius in the world of painting, who for much of his life called Toledo home.  To help you become more familiar with this genuine Toledo treasure, below we have provided a brief overview of the Museo de El Greco, including some information on its history and a short description of some of the most famous works contained within.

Museo de El Greco:  Overview

Located in Toledo’s La Juderia, or Jewish Quarter, the Museo de El Greco (El Greco Museum), was initially opened in 1911.  The museum consists of two buildings:  a house built in the mid-1500s with a courtyard, and an extension that was added in the early 1900s, both of which share a beautiful and very colorful garden.

In addition to containing many of El Greco’s works, most of which were produced in the artist’s most productive and absolutely brilliant late period, the Museo de El Greco also showcases canvases produced by a number of other 17th century Spanish painters, as well as furniture from the same era and pottery from Talavera de la Reina.  Guests to the museum are given the rare opportunity to discover, via a new display and communicative exhibit, the genius of El Greco through works produced in his maturity.

After traveling from Crete, his birthplace, to Venice and later Rome, El Greco, at age 37, settled in Toledo, Spain, where he would live and work until his death in 1614.  The El Greco Museum showcases the most important paintings from this period, including the Apostolate series—an excellent example for understanding the last stage of the painter’s creative process—the San Bernardino altarpiece and the View and plan of Toledo.  It also displays for visitors the works that the artist carried out in Toledo, as well as art produced by some of his loyal and talented followers, including the gifted Luis Tristan.

Some of the works displayed in the Museo de El Greco include:

  • Crucified Christ.  This painting represents a regular theme in El Greco’s artistic career and demonstrates his style that often includes the lengthening of proportions and modeling faces.
  • The Saviour.  This portrait of Christ belongs to the aforementioned Apostolate series and is one of the most unusual, yet brilliant works of that collection.
  • The Tears of Saint Peter.  In this painting, El Greco demonstrates the Saint’s humanity:  the correct anatomy, the careful care in the composition and the drawing.  Some say it is the work that best resembles pieces created in his earlier artistic career.
  • Portrait of Antonio de Covarrubias.  A gorgeous painting of one of Toledo’s most well-known members of society at the time, this work is considered a major contribution to the history of Spanish portraiture.

The Museo de El Greco was founded by the Marquis of Vega-Inclan, and a space in the museum is dedicated to his collection and life, a life that included being a pioneer in promoting tourism of the Spanish arts and the recovery of many of El Greco’s famous works.