The Immaculate Conception

El Greco and Jorge Manuel Theotokópoulos

Initially, this Immaculate Conception was erroneously identified as an Assumption of the Virgin. It is one of the artist’s later works in which the execution of the landscape, less refined in comparison to the composition of the figures painted by El Greco, has been attributed to Jorge Manuel Theotokópoulos. The artist’s inspiration for this scene was the apocalyptic vision of Saint John (Revelation 12: 1-2). Framed by a throne of clouds in the centre of the composition, we see the figure of the Immaculate Conception supported by a group of cherubs, below which is a landscape containing all the symbols of the Litany. The upper register is illuminated by the dove of the Holy Ghost and several adoring angels.

This work has been compared with two other El Greco paintings: Saint John Contemplates the Immaculate Conception, produced for the Church of San Román in Toledo, and the Immaculate Conception painted for the Oballe Chapel, often called the Oballe Conception.

Mª Eugenia Alonso

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© 2014 Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Paseo del Prado 8, 28014 Madrid, España