Lot No. 41


Workshop of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco


(Heraklion 1541–1614 Toledo)
Saint Martin and the Beggar,
oil on canvas, 106.5 x 63.5 cm, framed

Provenance:
art market, Madrid;
Ifigenia Syngros collection, Athens, 1908;
Durand Ruel, Rome;
Contini-Bonacossi collection, Florence;
Private European collection

Literature:
R. Longhi, A. Mayer, Gli antichi pittori spagnoli della collezione Contini-Bonacossi, Rome 1930, p. 30, cat. 41, pl. XXXIII-XXXIV (as Attributed to El Greco);
V. Magnoni, Il Greco, Florence 1931, pp. 59-60, 74 and ill. p. 49 (as Attributed to El Greco);
M. Legendre, A. Hartmann, Domenico Theotocopouli dit El Greco, Paris 1937, ill. p. 462 (as Attributed to El Greco);
J. Camon Aznar, Dominico Greco, Madrid 1950, vol. II, pp. 702-703, 1383 no. 526 (as Attributed to El Greco, published probably with the wrong image);
H. E. Wethey, El Greco and his school, Princeton 1962, vol. I, fig. 121, vol. II, p. 248, no. X-405 (as Attributed to Jorge Manuel);
G. Manzini, T. Frati, L’opera completa del Greco, Milan 1978, p. 109, cat. no. 105 Cc3 (as Attributed to El Greco);
M. B. Cossìo, El Greco, Madrid, 1984, p. 288, no. 285
 
The subject of Saint Martin and the Beggar was depicted by Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco and his studio on several occasions. The prototype for this composition is considered to be the canvas signed ‘doménikos theotokópoulos epoiei’ executed for the left side of the altarpiece of the San José chapel in Toledo, commissioned by Martín Ramírez between 1597 and 1599 (193.5 x 103 cm) now conserved in the National Gallery of Art, Washington and formerly in the Widener collection. In the composition, now in Washington, El Greco abandoned traditional iconography in favour of an elongated handling of the figures, made especially evident in the slender and fluid form of the mendicant. The knight-saint is richly adorned by the sixteenth century Spanish armour he wears: this displays the typical Toledo ‘damasquinada’, a use of decoration and it further emphasises the nudity of the beggar standing beside him. The figures, seen from a point of view from below, further accentuate the grand magnificence of the figure on horseback, in relation to the beggar. The painting’s protagonists are silhouetted against the sky animated by fantastically formed and placed clouds. In the lower right background, a curious wheel can be seen alongside the Tago river. Indeed, El Greco wished to insert this detail in his composition to demonstrate his admiration for the celebrated Italian inventor Janello Torriani who invented the so-called ‘Artificio de Juanelo’ which was a complex mechanical system for drawing water from the Tago up to Toledo’s Alcázar fortress at the highest point of the city.

The present painting has been considered an original by El Greco, possibly assisted by his studio, and various scholars have dated it to the late cinquecento or early seicento. Wethey however, considered it a work by Jorge Manuel Theotokopoulos, El Greco’s son. It is clear moreover, that much the work reveals the artist’s studio methods, pointing to its creation during the artist’s life-time, with the methods of the master, who actively worked alongside his assistants. Furthermore, the paint materials used are in similar to those used by El Greco’s pallet. Francisco Pacheco del Río an artist who visited El Greco in Toledo in 1611 recalls how in the artist’s studio there, he saw many works of small dimensions with the same compositions as larger paintings the artist had made for various patrons. Indeed, El Greco himself habitually reused successful compositions: such as the various versions of the Saint Francis. 

In addition to the present painting another four versions of the prototype made for the San José chapel in Toledo are known. These works are conserved in public collections and are either considered originals, or studio works with intervention by the master. One replica, from the Andrew Mellon collection, is also conserved in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (Camón Aznar believes this a work by Jorge Manuel, while Wethey considers it a mechanical studio reproduction, datable to after 1600); the version in the Art Institute of Chicago is signed ‘doménikos theotokó [poulos epoiei]’; another version is in the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art,  Saratoga, and finally there is a Saint Martin  in the former Romanian Royal Collection, Bucharest.

22.10.2019 - 17:00

Realized price: **
EUR 247,300.-
Estimate:
EUR 80,000.- to EUR 120,000.-

Workshop of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco


(Heraklion 1541–1614 Toledo)
Saint Martin and the Beggar,
oil on canvas, 106.5 x 63.5 cm, framed

Provenance:
art market, Madrid;
Ifigenia Syngros collection, Athens, 1908;
Durand Ruel, Rome;
Contini-Bonacossi collection, Florence;
Private European collection

Literature:
R. Longhi, A. Mayer, Gli antichi pittori spagnoli della collezione Contini-Bonacossi, Rome 1930, p. 30, cat. 41, pl. XXXIII-XXXIV (as Attributed to El Greco);
V. Magnoni, Il Greco, Florence 1931, pp. 59-60, 74 and ill. p. 49 (as Attributed to El Greco);
M. Legendre, A. Hartmann, Domenico Theotocopouli dit El Greco, Paris 1937, ill. p. 462 (as Attributed to El Greco);
J. Camon Aznar, Dominico Greco, Madrid 1950, vol. II, pp. 702-703, 1383 no. 526 (as Attributed to El Greco, published probably with the wrong image);
H. E. Wethey, El Greco and his school, Princeton 1962, vol. I, fig. 121, vol. II, p. 248, no. X-405 (as Attributed to Jorge Manuel);
G. Manzini, T. Frati, L’opera completa del Greco, Milan 1978, p. 109, cat. no. 105 Cc3 (as Attributed to El Greco);
M. B. Cossìo, El Greco, Madrid, 1984, p. 288, no. 285
 
The subject of Saint Martin and the Beggar was depicted by Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco and his studio on several occasions. The prototype for this composition is considered to be the canvas signed ‘doménikos theotokópoulos epoiei’ executed for the left side of the altarpiece of the San José chapel in Toledo, commissioned by Martín Ramírez between 1597 and 1599 (193.5 x 103 cm) now conserved in the National Gallery of Art, Washington and formerly in the Widener collection. In the composition, now in Washington, El Greco abandoned traditional iconography in favour of an elongated handling of the figures, made especially evident in the slender and fluid form of the mendicant. The knight-saint is richly adorned by the sixteenth century Spanish armour he wears: this displays the typical Toledo ‘damasquinada’, a use of decoration and it further emphasises the nudity of the beggar standing beside him. The figures, seen from a point of view from below, further accentuate the grand magnificence of the figure on horseback, in relation to the beggar. The painting’s protagonists are silhouetted against the sky animated by fantastically formed and placed clouds. In the lower right background, a curious wheel can be seen alongside the Tago river. Indeed, El Greco wished to insert this detail in his composition to demonstrate his admiration for the celebrated Italian inventor Janello Torriani who invented the so-called ‘Artificio de Juanelo’ which was a complex mechanical system for drawing water from the Tago up to Toledo’s Alcázar fortress at the highest point of the city.

The present painting has been considered an original by El Greco, possibly assisted by his studio, and various scholars have dated it to the late cinquecento or early seicento. Wethey however, considered it a work by Jorge Manuel Theotokopoulos, El Greco’s son. It is clear moreover, that much the work reveals the artist’s studio methods, pointing to its creation during the artist’s life-time, with the methods of the master, who actively worked alongside his assistants. Furthermore, the paint materials used are in similar to those used by El Greco’s pallet. Francisco Pacheco del Río an artist who visited El Greco in Toledo in 1611 recalls how in the artist’s studio there, he saw many works of small dimensions with the same compositions as larger paintings the artist had made for various patrons. Indeed, El Greco himself habitually reused successful compositions: such as the various versions of the Saint Francis. 

In addition to the present painting another four versions of the prototype made for the San José chapel in Toledo are known. These works are conserved in public collections and are either considered originals, or studio works with intervention by the master. One replica, from the Andrew Mellon collection, is also conserved in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (Camón Aznar believes this a work by Jorge Manuel, while Wethey considers it a mechanical studio reproduction, datable to after 1600); the version in the Art Institute of Chicago is signed ‘doménikos theotokó [poulos epoiei]’; another version is in the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art,  Saratoga, and finally there is a Saint Martin  in the former Romanian Royal Collection, Bucharest.


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Auction: Old Master Paintings I
Date: 22.10.2019 - 17:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 12.10. - 22.10.2019


** Purchase price incl. charges and taxes

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