Thursday, May 15, 2008

St. Luke by El Greco

A beautifully simple depiction of this harmonious relationship can be seen in a painting of St. Luke made by El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopolous) between 1605 and 1610. Tradition says that Luke, besides being the author of the Gospel that bears his name, was an artist. Who better to appreciate the equality of words and images? Here he holds a book in one hand, and a brush—or is it a pen?—in the other. The book is open to reveal a page of text, presumably his Gospel, which so vividly describes in words the Annunciation and Nativity of Christ; on the facing page, there is a painted representation of the Madonna and Child. "Word and image illuminate each other." Luke himself is portrayed against a dark backdrop, with slightly diverging eyes that lend him an air of reverie or abstraction; perhaps he is contemplating the word with one eye and the image with another. Overall, El Greco’s sensuous, expressive technique reminds us of the physical, sacramental quality of art(Michael Schrauzer, This Rock).

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