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Removing the Fifth Seal - El Greco. 226 x 200 cm
In addition to popular (that is, often portrayed) biblical subjects, El Greco also wrote quite rare scenes. El Greco addressed the theme of the Apocalypse. The picture was ordered by the Taver Hospital in Toledo. The choice of such a terrible plot was quite explainable to the painter - El Greco withered, and thoughts of death began to visit him more often.
The plot is as follows: the souls of the deceased, who have perished for faith, for the word of God, turn to heaven, and the Lord sends them white robes. As a sign of revenge for their shed innocent blood.
In the foreground, the viewer sees an exaggeratedly elongated figure of St. John. He raised his hands to heaven and is in some kind of religious ecstasy-trance. The background was filled with martyrs who rose from the graves. El Greco so "strongly" portrayed what is happening that, it seems, you can hear the moaning of the rushing souls of the sufferers. A group of three men, whose background is green drapery, receive robes from heaven.
In terms of style, El Greco departed from his traditional style - there are a lot of broken lines, distorted elements on the canvas, all the figures are unnaturally elongated and deformed. But it is precisely this author’s “move” that brings emotionality, dynamism and irreality to the picture. And it’s as if luminous colors are inside. We are as if immersed in a magical prophetic vision.
Contemporaries did not accept the picture of an aging master - it was infinitely far from the canons of religious painting, and it was very unusual for secular art. However, the masters of the 20th century had a different attitude to the canvas - the society "grew up" to understand the great El Greco.
Today, some researchers believe that only the lower part of the original canvas has reached us, and Jesus (the Lamb of God) and some kind of symbolic designation of the four previous cracked seals were supposedly depicted in the lost upper part.