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View and Plan of Toledo

Madrid 6/2/2009 - 2/27/2011

Visitors to the Prado will have the chance to appreciate the El Greco’s unique work, View and Plan of Toledo. In contrast to the partial views of the city that appear in other works by the artist, this canvas offers a multiple viewpoint; in addition to a perspectival presentation it includes a detailed plan of the city, held up by the figure of a young man and painted with the characteristically sketchy handling of the artist’s last years. This complex composition also includes an allegory of the river Tagus, seen here as a sculpture that pours water and hence prosperity, as well as the iconic religious image of that city, that of the Virgin placing the chasuble on Saint Ildefonso. In addition, prominence is also given to the Hospital de Tavera, which is depicted on a cloud in an explicit reference to the administrator of the building, Pedro Salazar de Mendoza, a friend of the artist and the probable patron of the work.

With the aim of highlighting the presence of Toledo in many of El Greco’s most famous paintings, View and Plan of Toledo will be exhibited in room 8A, which will form an additional space to the two permanent galleries devoted to the artist’s work in the Prado. The View and Plan is accompanied by three other works by the artist: Saint Sebastian, Saint Andrew and Saint Francis, and Saint Bernard. The latter belongs to the Prado but has been on long-term deposit with the Museo del Greco (in Toledo) since that museum opened. It has now returned to the Prado while the museum in Toledo is being restored and will return there on completion of work. During the period of their special installation in this room the three paintings will have labels that identify the most famous buildings in Toledo that are depicted in each painting, such as the castle of San Serando, the Alcántara bridge, the Alcázar, the monastery of San Bartolomé and the Montero chapel, all important monuments that can also be seen and identified in the View and Plan of Toledo.

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