2014 marks the 4th centenary of El Greco’s death. Several exhibitions and an extensive cultural programme this year will recall the work of Domenikos Theotokopoulos and its subsequent influence on art. Toledo, the city where El Greco enjoyed his greatest creative period, will be the main centre for the celebrations.
Four hundred years later, El Greco returns to Toledo. The commemoration of the fourth centenary of his death in 2014 will offer the public a chance to see great masterpieces by the painter from Crete from leading national and international collections, all on display together in the city of the Tagus. In addition, there is a programme of activities featuring everything from music concerts, theatre and dance, through to talks and gastronomic tasting events.
This year of exhibitions in Toledo kicks off in February with the show‘Contemporary Toledo’, featuring images of the city taken by thirteen prestigious international photographers throughout 2013. March sees the start of an exhibition that should on no account be missed: ‘The Greek from Toledo’. On the one hand, in the Museum of Santa Cruz visitors can see paintings by El Greco from the National Gallery in London, the Musée du Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among other important collections. The exhibition will also include works by the painter in what are known as the Espacios Greco, or the ‘El Greco Spaces’, conserved in the places for which they were originally made: the cathedral, the chapel of San José, the convent of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, the Tavera Hospital and the church of Santo Tomé.
In September the Santa Cruz Museum will also serve as the venue for ‘El Greco: Art and Skill’ which will make it possible for the first time to compare different versions of paintings such as ‘The Disrobing of Christ’ or ‘The Crucifixion’, and bring together the four apostles of El Greco in the same city. And of course there is always the chance to admire the collection in the El Greco Museum the whole year round.
El Greco 2014 outside Toledo
The commemoration of the fourth centenary also takes the art of El Greco to other Spanish cities. The Prado Museum will offer two exhibitions: one in March, entitled ‘El Greco’s Library’, and the other in June: ‘El Greco and Modern Painting’, describing the influence the artist had on the development of painting in the 19th and 20th centuries.
In addition, the touring exhibition ‘Between Heaven and Earth. Twelve views of El Greco 400 years on’ on the presence of El Greco in art today, will take place between April and July at the National Sculpture Museum in Valladolid, and then in September come to the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid.
Music, performing arts and more
In addition to this commemorative year of exhibitions, there is also a parallel programme of cultural activities. For example, the Festival Greco 2014 PaseArte will fill the streets and squares of Toledo with theatre, dance and performing arts shows. The monuments in the city will also serve as the stage for the concert series entitled Centenary Music; and the programme Saborea Greco (Tasting El Greco) will feature food and wine tasting events and special set menus in restaurants and hotels in Toledo for all visitors.
There will also be lectures, symposia, special events… The official El Greco 2014 website (www.elgreco2014.com) provides comprehensive information as well as the possibility of purchasing tickets for the exhibitions in the programme. This year, there’s no excuse not to discover El Greco in Spain.