The itinerary <em>TITULORECORRIDO</em> has been successfully created. Now you can add in works from the Collection browser
<em>TITULOOBRA</em> added to <em>TITULORECORRIDO</em> itinerary

Collection <Back
Christ carrying the Cross
El Greco
Close Continuar a ficha de la obra

El Greco

Candía (Creta), 1541 - Toledo, 1614

Christ carrying the Cross

Ca. 1602. Oil on canvas, 108 x 78 cm.

A slightly more than half-length image of Jesus wearing a red tunic and blue robes. Holding the cross with both hands, he rests it on his left shoulder. His head is slightly raised and his watery eyes bear a serene, resigned expression as he looks to the heavens. The crown of thorns on his head is reinforced by a luminous rhomboidal halo. The precisely rendered crown shows each of the tender, interwoven branches bearing small shoots. It is perfectly set on Jesus’s forehead and a few drops of blood have fallen onto his neck from the small cuts caused by its thorns. There is no sign of pain on his face, however, and he shows neither anguish nor the effort of carrying the cross, which he seems to embrace like a light instrument on which to rest his large, delicate hands. The image is reinforced by its presentation of Christ’s figure in a sotto in su perspective, that is, looking upwards from a very low viewpoint. The background is a stormy sky of the sort quiet characteristic of El Greco’s works, with no narrative references to distract the viewer’s complete focus on the figure of Christ and his relation to the cross.

This composition is an autographic variant of one of El Greco’s subjects. And while the subject was not completely original, it was widely accepted in his time. Some authors have praised El Greco’s brilliant ability to transform a traditionally narrative representation into a votive image, and this is explained by the Counter-Reformist mentality of Spanish spirituality. The model for Christ’s physique here coincides with that of the Disrobing of Christ that El Greco painted for Toledo Cathedral in 1578.

Images of Christ carrying the cross on his way to Calvary were relatively frequent in Christian iconography, and examples from as far back as Paleo-Christian art are linked to texts referring to the cross’s symbolic role as an instrument of salvation and the attainment of eternal life. El Greco transformed the stark views of Christ in pain and weighed down by exhaustion and physical punishment on the Via Dolorosa, which had had important repercussions in the second half of the 16th century, both in Italy (Sebastiano del Piombo, Corregio and Titian) and in Spain, where small devotional panels by Luis de Morales (ca. 1515-1586) were highly accepted between the 1560s and the 1580s. Morales imbued the cross with an undeniably allegorical character that was linked to the Medieval meditations attributed to Pseudo-Buenaventura (Meditationes vitae Christi). The devotional character of his works carries over into El Greco’s compositions, but the latter replace Morales’s dark, neutral backgrounds with spectacular skies. Moreover, El Greco pushes the figure’s sotto in su perspective to such a point that the conception is practically sculptural, and possibly related to images from the Holy Week processions that were so important in Spanish religion at that time. Those images, however, retained a sense of pain as a means of stimulating believers’ compassion and empathy.

This version from the Museo del Prado is of great quality, brilliantly executed and very successful in its colors and lighting. The hands are outstanding, with the mother-of-pearl nails characteristic of El Greco, and they are shaped with great sensitivity. The work must have been painted around 1600-1605, following completion of the altarpiece at the College of doña María de Aragón in Madrid (1596-1600) and the group of works for the Hospital de la Caridad in Illescas, Toledo (1603-1605). This work entered the Museo del Prado in 1872 via the former Museo de la Trinidad, which had gathered works from the convents closed by the disentailment laws promulgated by Juan Álvarez Mendizábal between 1835 and 1837 (Text drawn from Ruiz, L. El Prado en el Ermitage, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 96-97).

Multimedia

Technical data

Inventory number
P00822
Author
El Greco
Title
Christ carrying the Cross
Date
Ca. 1602
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
High/Height: 108 cm.; Width: 78 cm.
Provenance
Trinidad Museum

Bibliography +

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catalogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Naciona, Madrid [s.n.], 1865, pp. n. 58.

Viniegra, Salvador, Catálogo ilustrado de la exposición de las obras de Domenico Theotocopuli llamado 'El Greco', Madrid J. Lacoste, 1902, pp. 16 n.2124f il..

Cossío, Manuel B.1857-1935, El Greco, Madrid Victoriano Suárez, 1908, pp. 332 n.70.

Mayer, A. L., Domenico Theotocopuli, El Greco, Munich, 1926, pp. n.63.

Polentinos, Conde de, El convento de San Hermenegildo de Madrid CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES, 1933, pp. 36-42,50.

Aguilera, Emiliano M., Domenicos Theotocópulos el Greco, Barcelona Iberia, 1933, pp. 15.

Busuioceanu, Al, Les tableaux du Greco dans la collection Royale de Roumanie LES BEAUX-ARTS.SOCIETE D EDITION ET, 1934, pp. 288.

Legendre, M. Hartmann, A, Domenico Theotocopouli dit el Greco, Paris Hyperion, 1937, pp. 183.

Les chefs-d'oeuvre du Musée du Prado: exposition, Musée d'ar, Ginebra Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, 1939.

Les chefs-d'oeuvre du Musée du Prado: exposition, Musée d'ar, Ginebra Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, 1939, pp. n.8.

Camón Aznar, José1898-1979, Dominico Greco I y II, Madrid Espasa-Calpe, 1950, pp. 323-340 n.122.

Soehner, Halldor, Greco in Spainien. Teil I. Grecos Stilentwicklung in Spanien, 1957, pp. 123-194 [179].

Soehner, Halldor, Greco in Spainien. Teil II. Atelier und Nachfolge Greco's; Teil III katalog der Gëmalde Grecos, seines ateliers und seiner Nachfolge in Spanischem besitz, 1958-1959, pp. 147-242 [n.92].

Wethey, Harold, El Greco y su escuela, Madrid Guadarrama, 1967, pp. 55-56 n.56.

Salas, Xavier de, La obra pictórica completa de el Greco, Barcelona Madrid Noguer, 1970, pp. n.97h.

Camón Aznar, José, Dominico Greco, Madrid Espasa-Calpe, 1970, pp. 356, (Vol II nº 128).

Gudiol, José1904-1985, El Greco 1541-1614: Doménikos Theotokópoulos, Barcelona Polígrafa, 1971, pp. 199 n.354.

Rodríguez Culebras, Ramón., El Rostro de Cristo en el Arte Español., Madrid Urbion,, 1978, pp. 172.

Cossío, Manuel B.1857-1935, El Greco, Madrid EspasaCalpeS.A., 1981.

Pita Andrade, José Manuel, El Greco, Milán Arnoldo Mondadori, 1981, pp. 182 n.217.

Metford, Jcj, Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend, Londres Thames and Hudson, 1983, pp. 255.

Pita Andrade, José Manuel1922-2009, El Greco, Milan CarroggioS.A., 1985, pp. 112.

Museo Nacional del Prado., Museo del Prado : catálogo de las pinturas /, Madrid Museo del Prado,, 1985, pp. 313.

Álvarez Lopera, José, La Pasión de Cristo en la pintura del Greco FUNDACION UNIVERSITARIA ESPAÑOLA, 1985, pp. 21-22.

Domínguez Ortiz, Antonio, El Greco. La sociedad castellana de la época de El Greco, 1987, pp. 54.

Du Greco a Goya: chefs-d'oeuvre du Prado et de collections e, Ginebra Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, 1989, pp. 30 n.8.

Bronstein, Leo, El Greco: Domenicos Theotocopoulos, Madrid Julio Ollero, 1990, pp. 80.

Davies, D., El Greco of Crete. Exhibition on the Occasion of the 450th A, Iraklion Municipalite of Iraklion, 1990, pp. n.19.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Madrid Museo del PradoEspasa Calpe, 1991, pp. nº58.

Álvarez Lopera, José, El Greco: la obra esencial, Madrid Silex, 1993, pp. 158 n.207.

Arte y Mistica del Barroco, Mejico Consejo Nacional para la Cultura, 1994.

El Greco: su revalorizacion por el modernismo catalán, Barcelona Museu Nacional d'Art de CatalunyaProaEnciclopedia, 1996, pp. 146.

El Greco: su revalorizacion por el modernismo catalán, Barcelona Museu Nacional d'Art de CatalunyaProaEnciclopedia, 1996, pp. 146-151 n.19.

Marías, Fernando, El Greco . Guía, Madrid Alianza Editorial - Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, 1998, pp. 33.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Greco y la pintura española del Renacimiento: guía, Madrid Museo del PradoAldeasa, 2001, pp. 116.

Ferino Pagden, Sylvia, El Greco, Vienna,Milano Kunsthistoriches MuseumSkira, 2001, pp. 174.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Greco y la pintura española del Renacimiento: guía, Madrid Museo del PradoAldeasa, 2001, pp. 116.

Alvarez Lopera, José, El Greco en las colecciones reales. Los retratos del Museo del Prado en EL GRECO, Madrid GALAXIA GUTENBERG, 2003, pp. 175-215.

Portús, Javier, La Coleccion de Pintura Española en el Museo del Prado, Madrid : Edilupa, 2003, pp. 68.

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado., Tokio - Osaka, 2006.

Ruiz Gomez, Leticia, El Greco en el Museo Nacional del Prado : catálogo razonado..., Madrid : Museo Nacional del Prado, 2007, pp. 125-129.

De Tiziano a Goya : grandes maestros del Museo del Prado =Fr..., Madrid : Museo Nacional del Prado : SEACEX, 2007, pp. 206.

El Prado en el Hermitage : Museo Estatal del Hermitage : Mus, 2011, pp. 96-97.

Renacimiento y Barroco en las Colecciones de la Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza Universidad de Zaragoza, 2012, pp. 32.

Barón, Javier, 'El Greco & la pintura moderna' En:, Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, 2014, pp. 15-49 [47].

Barón, Javier, 'La influencia del Greco en la pintura moderna. Del siglo XIX a la difusión del Cubismo' En:, Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, 2014, pp. 101-197 [127].

Portús, Javier, 'El Greco y la pintura europea: del Surrealismo a las nuevas figuraciones' En:, Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, 2014, pp. 276-311 [299].

Fernández Chillerón, Ramón, El Greco de El Bonillo. Crónica de un hallazgo Ayuntamiento de El Bonillo, 2014.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, 'El Greco arte y oficio. Invención e interpretación' En: Fundación El Greco 2014, 2014, pp. 40-65 [53].

Dal Bello, Mario., El Greco: le illuminazioni Libreria editrice vaticana,, 2014, pp. 82-83.

Other inventories +

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 58.
58. / Nuestro Señor con la Cruz a cuestas figura de (más de medio cuerpo) firmado Dom.ico Theotocopuli llamado el Greco. / Rdo Alto 1,08; ancho 0,88. / Forrado y restaurado colgado en la galeria principal / Nº 101 / C.B.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 2124f.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 822.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 822.

Exhibitions +

El Greco y la pintura moderna
Madrid
24.06.2014 - 05.10.2014

El Greco and Modern Painting
24.06.2014 - 05.10.2014

The Imaginary Museum
Moscú
27.04.2012 - 29.07.2012

El Prado en el Hermitage
San Petersburgo
25.02.2011 - 29.05.2011

EL PRADO EN EL HERMITAGE
San Petersburgo
25.02.2011 - 29.05.2011

LOS GRECOS DEL PRADO
Madrid
04.12.2007 - 10.02.2008

El Greco in the Prado
04.12.2007 - 17.02.2008

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
Shanghai
13.09.2007 - 12.11.2007

De Tiziano a Goya. Grandes maestros del Museo del Prado - China
Shangai
12.09.2007 - 12.11.2007

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
Beijing
29.06.2007 - 24.08.2007

De Tiziano a Goya. Grandes maestros del Museo del Prado - China
Pekín - Beijing
24.06.2007 - 24.08.2007

CHINA: DE TIZIANO A GOYA. GRANDES MAESTROS DEL MUSEO DEL PRADO
Pekín - Beijing
24.06.2007 - 24.08.2007

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado (Tokio / Osaka)
Osaka
14.07.2006 - 15.10.2006

DE TIZIANO A GOYA. OBRAS MAESTRAS DEL MUSEO DEL PRADO
Osaka
14.07.2006 - 15.10.2006

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado (Tokio / Osaka)
Tokio
24.03.2006 - 02.07.2006

DE TIZIANO A GOYA. OBRAS MAESTRAS DEL MUSEO DEL PRADO
Tokio
24.03.2006 - 02.07.2006

El Greco
Viena
02.05.2001 - 02.09.2001

La revalorización moderna de El Greco y el modernismo catalán
Barcelona
20.12.1996 - 02.03.1997

Arte y mística de la época virreinal, 1600-1730
México D.F.
14.03.1994 - 12.06.1994

El Greco. 450 Aniversario de su nacimiento
Iraklio
01.09.1990 - 10.10.1990

Obras maestras de la Pintura Española: del Siglo de Oro a Goya
Ginebra
14.06.1989 - 24.09.1989

Location +

Room 009B (On Display)

Update date: 12-02-2016 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

Other works by El Greco

Print on demand

Print artworks available in our catalogue in high quality and your preferred size and finish.

Image archive

Request artworks available in our catalogue in digital format.

Up