Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 3, 1906 -- Art Institute Assume Ownership of monumental El Greco Work

August 3, 1906:  The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that at a recent meeting the trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago approved the purchase of El Greco’s “Assumption of the Virgin” for the price of $40,000.  The canvas, measuring 13 feet by two inches high and seven feet by six inches wide, will be the largest painting on display at the Art Institute.  It was commissioned by Don Diego de Castilla in 1577 as an altar piece for the convent church of San Domingo El Antiguo in Toledo, Spain.   The Art Institute today describes the priceless work in this way, “The artist’s use of flickering, high-keyed colors and broad brushwork further lend the work an ecstatic feeling sought after by Catholic Church patrons during the Counter-Reformation.  El Greco used such bold colors and figural arrangements to arouse a spiritual fervor in the viewer and impart the deep sense of faith he himself felt.”  The work may be found In Gallery 211 in the European Painting and Sculpture section.

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