Saturday, July 2, 2016

El Greco's "Laocoön" at the National Gallery of Art

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) El Greco Greek, 1541 - 1614 Laocoön c. 1610/1614 oil on canvas overall: 137.5 x 172.5 cm (54 1/8 x 67 15/16 in.) framed: 176.5 x 212.7 cm (69 1/2 x 83 3/4 in.) Samuel H. Kress Collection1946.18.1 On View
WASHINGTON, DC---The story of Laocoön is the only classical theme religious artist El Greco (1541-1614) is known to have painted, and it is on view at the National Gallery of Art. Widespread interest in the story of Laocoön, a mythical priest of Troy, developed after an ancient, monumental sculpture representing him and his two sons was unearthed in 1506 in Rome. Suspecting trickery, Laocoön had warned his countrymen not to accept the wooden horse left outside Troy by the Greeks and had hurled his spear at it to prove that it was hollow. Thus the priest incurred the wrath of the gods, for desecrating an object dedicated to the goddess Athena. Did El Greco intend to relate this mythical theme of conflict and divine retribution to the Inquisition then raging in Toledo? [link]