El Greco, the Holy Light, and Ties to Byzantium

Presented at the IFA In-House Symposium, 2016 “El Greco, the Holy Light, and Ties to Byzantium” was one of three papers considered for the IFA-Frick Symposium of the same year. This paper proposes a new approach to aspects of El Greco’s Spanish period paintings that can prove strong ties of his later style with Byzantine painting techniques learned during his early career. Connections are drawn between elements of El Greco’s paintings that go beyond formal analysis and find roots in the practice of Byzantine Iconography. While in Spain he found new inspiration and greater freedom which allowed him, through maintaining elements from his first practice, to develop his well known unique style.

Image: Christ Driving the Money Lenders out of the Temple [detail], El Greco, National Gallery of Art, London. Personal photo.
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