El Greco`s “Burial Of Count”This painting is the Burial of Count Orgaz by El Greco (the Geek) his real nameDomenikos Theotocopoulos. It hangs on the wall in the vestibule of the church ofSanto Tome in Toledo, Spain and was painted in 1586. It is oil on canvas and wasmade to fit the very wall it hangs today. The painting does have a Round topmaking it a very odd fit for anywhere but the church for it to hang. The artistused many dark shades Blue and blacks with yellow and red in the items ofimportance and detail. White was very common.
There was only one other colorsort of hid in the robe of St Augastine,Green. He put alot of details in thethings that he wanted the audience to pay attention to. The cross for example onthe middle right, the keys to the gates of heaven held by saint peter on the topleft and a nice touch with the priest with the skull on his rob on the bottomright. This is the first completely personal work by the artist. There are nolonger any references to Roman or Venetian formulas or motifs.
He has succeededin eliminating any description of space. There is no ground, no horizon, no skyand no perspective. Accordingly, there is no conflict, and a convincingexpression of a supernatural space is achieved. The painting has a couple ofoddities with the boy pointing to the seal on the St.
Stephen’s robe but hisother hand is sort of contorted. The faces of the people seem to be stuck hereand there and don’t seem to be natural flowing like a crowd should be in themist of a vision . We get a glimpse of the artist above St Augustine’s Hat ashe looks up at his own art. And the boy is his son turns out to be his son. Thepainting is very clearly divided into two zones, the heavenly above and theterrestrial below, but there is little feeling of duality.
The upper and lowerzones are brought together compositionally (e. g. , by the standing figures, bytheir varied participation in the earthly and heavenly event, by the torches,cross, etc. The grand circular mandorla-like pattern of the two Saints descendedfrom Heaven echoes the pattern formed by the Virgin and Saint John the Baptist,and the action is given explicit expression. The point of equilibrium is theoutstretched hand poised in the void between the two Saints, whence the mortalbody descends, and the Soul, in the medieval form of a transparent and nakedchild, is taken up by the angel to be received in Heaven.
The supernaturalappearance of the Saints is enhanced by the splendor of color and light of theirgold vestments. The powerful cumulative emotion expressed by the group ofparticipants is suffused and sustained through the composition by the splendor,variety and vitality of the color and of light. The painting illustrates apopular local legend. In 1312, a certain Don Gonzalo Ruiz, native of Toledo, andSe?or of the town of Orgaz, died (the family received the title of Count, bywhich he is generally known, only later). He was a pious man who, among othercharitable acts, left moneys for the enlargement and adornment of the church ofSanto Tome (El Greco’s parish church). At his burial, Saint Stephen and SaintAugustine intervened to lay him to rest.
The occasion for the commission of thepainting for the chapel, in which the Se?or was buried, was the resumption ofthe tribute payable to the church by the town of Orgaz, which had been withheldfor over two centuries. All in all a very interesting piece of art. Though he iskind of a nock off of Michelangelo.