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El Greco's work, “The Annunciation” comes to the Capitoline Museums


There are only a few of El Greco's works left in Italy. Almost all of his artwork is found in Spain. His pieces are from the end of the 16th century, mainly draw on religious inspiration and stand out for their stylized figures and contrasts of colors.

For the next few weeks, until April 17, the Capitoline Museums in Rome have one of them: "The Annunciation." The head of the museum, Claudio Parisci, says it was not an easy task to obtain this piece. In exchange, the museum had to give up one of Caravaggio's greatest works.

Capitoline Museums (Rome)
"There are always complications when handling delicate works, but this is the fruit of an exchange with the Thyseen Museum to which we have given "La Buenaventura," by Caravaggio, which is one of the works of the Capitoline collection that we rarely give up.”

In spite of his name, this work does not display the Annunciation of the angel to Mary, but the moment of the Incarnation. El Greco painted this altarpiece for the Colegio de la Encarnación Church in Madrid. 

Curator, Works of Art
"It is the moment after Mary receives the news of the Incarnation of Christ and reveals her doubts: 'How is all this possible? I do not know any man.' This reference to her virginity is symbolized by her left hand. The Angel responds: 'The Holy Spirit will descend upon you' and in that moment the dove of the Holy Spirit appears, this is the moment of the Incarnation.”

El Greco was born in Crete, but developed his artistic life in Venice, Rome and Toledo. This meant that his works changed with the passage of time as he absorbed the influence of several styles: Byzantine, Renaissance and the mannerisms of Michelangelo.

Capitoline Museums (Rome)
"It became popular only after 1800 when the artistic avant-garde recognized its originality. It was also an inspiration: It is said that Picasso's work in the Avignon Museum was influenced by a painting by El Greco.”

The creativity, acuteness and genius of this painter, took time to be recognized. Time has rewarded his efforts by turning him into one of the most important artists of the Renaissance where museums now fight to own a piece of his work.