The Passion of Christ - a painting by El Greco
August 24, 2006
AN AMATEUR collector went to his grave 60 years ago, unable to convince scholars that he had discovered a 1566 painting by El Greco.
Now Emilios Velimezis, a Greek businessman who bought icons of the 15th and 16th centuries, has been proved right after all, to the excitement of today’s art experts.
The Passion of Christ — Pietà with Angels, painted in 1566 by the Master dubbed a prophet of modern art, will be unveiled to the British public this week, as part of an important exhibition at the British Library. The attribution was clinched by the discovery of a fading photograph taken in 1938 which shows that the painting once bore the artist’s signature — under his real name, Domenikos Theotokopoulos — beneath Christ’s feet.
The painting, which measures 68.7cm by 45cm (27in by 18in), had been photographed just before the signature was removed, along with old varnish, by an overzealous restorer.
El Greco (1541-1614), who is thought to have raised enough money from the sale of this painting to leave his native island of Crete, was one of the most original artists of his age.
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