“Macrenticeship of St. Mauritius”, El Greco – overview of the painting

“Macrenticeship of St. Mauritius”, El Greco – overview of the painting
"Macrenticeship of St. Mauritius", El Greco - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by El Greco
  • Museum: Escorial Monastery
  • Year: 1581

Overview of the painting :

The martyrdom of St. Mauritius is El Greco. 1581. Oil on canvas. 448 x 301 cm.

   El Greco finished the large multi-figure canvas “Muchy of St. Mauritius” in 1582. King Philip II himself ordered the master’s picture for the Cathedral of Escorial. Looking ahead, let’s say that neither the king nor the courtiers liked the picture – already, the overly stylistic performance was different from the then fashionable trends of the Renaissance. The cathedral refused the picture, and another canvas of the little-known artist took its place.

   But it cannot be said that this work was some tragic milestone for El Greco. Of course, he was very upset, but it was this case that forever settled him in Toledo, a city that became the center of the spiritual life of Spain. medieval traditions were honored here, music and poetry flourished. The city became the platform that allowed El Greco to develop and create, remaining true to itself and its original handwriting.

   What the king and the Madrid public did not like? The canvas depicts several simultaneous episodes from the life of Mauritius. In the foreground, the viewer sees the scene when the commander of Mauritius with faithful associates prepares to accept death for Christianity. The middle plan shows the execution of Mauritius, and finally, the upper part of the large canvas is given to the ascension of the righteous soul to heaven.

   Despite the static nature of all figures, the picture is dynamic and emotional. And the merit of this compositional building and color solution. Different planes collected in one picture, depicting Mauritius in various life situations, create a rapid temporhythm, and color flickering places emphasis.

   I want to carefully consider the picture, dwelling on the details – the author carefully worked out the plot. We see the whole fate of the biblical righteous.

   The Madrid people, embraced by the Renaissance style, considered the El Greco canvas somewhat outdated, but time put everything in its place, and today the picture presented took its place in the Escorial Museum.