“The Removal of the Fifth Print,” El Greco – overview of the painting

“The Removal of the Fifth Print,” El Greco – overview of the painting
“The Removal of the Fifth Print,” El Greco - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by El Greco
  • Museum: Metropolitan Museum
  • Year: 1608-1614

Overview of the painting :

The removal of the fifth seal is El Greco. 1608-1614. Oil on canvas. 226 x 200 cm

   In addition to popular (that is, often depicted) biblical stories, El Greco wrote quite rare scenes. One of these topics, rarely remembered by painters, is “The Removal of the Fifth Print”. El Greco addressed the topic of the Apocalypse. The picture was ordered by Taver Hospital in Toledo. The choice of such a terrible plot was quite understandable for the painter – El Greco faded, and thoughts of death began to visit him more often.

   The plot is as follows: the souls of the departed, who perished for faith, for the word of God, turn to heaven, and the Lord sends them white clothes. Like a sign of revenge for their shed innocent blood.

   In the foreground, the viewer sees the exaggeratedly pulled figure of St. John. He raised his hands to heaven and abides in some kind of religious ecstasy trance. The back plan was filled by martyrs who got out of the graves. El Greco so “strongly” depicted what was happening that it seems that you can hear the moaning of the rushing souls of the Ostrothorps. A group of three men, the background for which is green drapery, receive robes from heaven.

   In style, El Greco moved away from his traditional manner – there are many broken lines, distorted elements on the canvas, all figures are unnaturally pulled out and deformed. But it is this author’s “come” that brings emotionality, dynamism and irreality to the picture. And as if from the inside there are luminous colors. We seem to be immersed in a magical prophetic vision.

   Modernists did not accept the picture of an aging master – from the canons of religious painting she was infinitely far away, and for secular creativity she was very unusual. However, the masters of the 20th century were already treated differently – the “teen” society in order to understand the great El Greco.

   Today, some researchers believe that only the lower part of the original canvas reached us, and in the lost upper part, Jesus (the Lamb of God) and some symbolic designation of the four previous hacked seals were supposedly depicted.