“Knight with a hand on his chest,” El Greco – overview of the painting

“Knight with a hand on his chest,” El Greco – overview of the painting
“Knight with a hand on his chest,” El Greco - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by El Greco
  • Museum: Prado Museum
  • Year: 1580

Overview of the painting :

The knight with a hand on his chest is El Greco. 1580. Oil on canvas. 81.8 x 65.8 cm.

   Portraiture El Greco is a separate page in the work of the famous painter. Strict and similar, monochrome with harmoniously distributed light accents, its portraits still carry a subtle and accurate characteristic of each of the heroes.

   The picture presented has several names: some call the courageous man from the canvas a knight, others a nobleman, and others simply call the canvas “Portrait of a man with a hand on his chest.”.

   It is assumed that the work was created in 1580. Unfortunately, the life of El Greco is shrouded in secrets, and continuous white spots are observed in the biography, so it is not possible to more accurately name the date of writing.

   The entire portrait is made in dark colors, the background is missing and almost merges with the figure of a man. With a recent restoration, it turned out that El Greco made the background lighter, however, over time, light gray paint darkened.

   The color accents are lace velvet cuff and a high collar under the very throat, framing the elongated face of a portrait with an acute triangular beard. The cuff draws attention to the man’s hand, you can not pay attention to his long aristocratic fingers. Another bright element is the golden epes of the sword. The sword indicates the viability of the master, and the appearance is typical of the nobleman of the Golden Age of Spain. The strict face of a cholen man does not express, it would seem, any emotions, however, the deep smart eyes surprise, which can say both about the mind and about the nobility.

   Earlier, it was suggested that the picture depicted none other than Cervantes, or even El Greco himself, although modern art historians agree that the Huan de Silva-i-Ribera, alkald and Marquis Toledo are on the canvas. There is also debate about the meaning of the expressive gesture (hand on the chest) and there is also pluralism of opinions – from oath to some secret gesture or even conditional signal.

   It is not known whether the signal reached the addressee, but the picture itself has been well preserved, despite more than 400 years of age and is now in Prado.