Sunday, 5 October 2008

El Greco

I am currently looking up El Greco's wonderful works on Google. There is something majestic and awesome about nearly all of his paintings. An art historian friend of mine said that the look of the paintings had something to do with an eye problem he had, so spatially many of his characters are very, well, long!

Apparently Toledo has a number of El Greco paintings. What a great excuse to go to Toledo. I love Spain anyway. What he manages to capture so well is drama! St Dominic's face is serene in this painting. He is praying fervently and lovingly meditating on Our Lord. Yet, look at the drama that seems to be going on all around him. The stormy, dark clouds and the rocky wilderness of his situation.

Our lives are not without drama and storms and the feeling we are alone in a rocky wilderness. The mystics seemed to suggest that aside from the tempestuous nature of the human condition, prayer itself is a drama, often a struggle, often stormy, dark and even frightening. The closer they came to God, the more they learned of themselves and their dependence on Him.

El Greco captures this really well! Yet still manages to convey St Dominic's love and devotion his face radiating, as if saying to Jesus, "You are all I need, all that I have and all that I want." Love it, love El Greco and if there were a fight between him and Velazquez, he'd probably win.

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