El Greco in the City of Three Cultures


A friend of mine recently sent me a note that she would be traveling this month to Madrid and Barcelona. Now that I am currently living in Spain, I was happy to know someone was coming to this wonderful country and it reminded me of an incredible city approximately 30 minutes outside of Madrid by train.

Not too long ago I found myself wandering through the ancient streets of Toledo, Spain. If you have not been there, I strongly recommend it. It is a UNESCO Heritage Site and proudly proclaims that it is a place where Christians, Muslims and Jews have co-existed for centuries as represented in the beautiful churches, mosques and synagogues.

And inside of the warren of sloping coble-stoned streets, there is a museum dedicated to one of Toledo’s most famous historical residents, Doménikos Theotokópoulos, also known as “El Greco”, whose elongated style of painted has prompted some modern scholars to surmise that his works were so unique that he belongs to no artistic school. The museum was founded by Marquis of Vega-Inclán.

El Greco, one of the great artists of the Spanish Renaissance, was born in Crete, Greece in 1541 and after traveling to other points in Europe, he finally went to Toledo where he remained until his death. The Museo Del Greco is the only museum in Spain dedicated to his work and seeing the paintings in person was an incredibly enriching experience.

Walking the passageways of the museum, one can find the spirit of this great painter permeating the space. Still, the pieces from El Greco are not the only precious pieces found in this wonderful jewel. The museum houses other Mannerist and Baroque collections that represent life in Toledo in the 16th and 17th Centuries.

However, one of the most incredible parts of the museum are the masterpieces of the Apostles and Christ, which are displayed in such a way that make you feel as if you can step into each painting by El Greco. In allowing the viewer such and intimate space, one is able to leisurely and purposefully contemplate each piece of the master.

When visiting Toledo, it is best to do a little advance planning. Because of the stone streets and hills, it is best to wear very comfortable walking shoes or sneakers. If you happen to visit it during the summer months, it can be very hot with the air hanging over you, but there are restaurants where you can drop in so as to hydrate yourself and eat along the way.

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Posted: September 4, 2014

© 2014 Linda N. Spencer and “Living For Purpose” all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda N. Spencer and “Living For Purpose” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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