Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The El Greco Burial: Who Knew?

We beguiled the time yesterday puzzling over El Greco's Burial of Count Orgaz in the San We beguiled the time yesterday puzzling over El Greco's Burial of Count Orgoz in the San Tomé Church in Toledo.  It's impressive enough to the untutored eye (i.e., mine) although it invites some explication.  Diving into some readily available sources, we find that it is remarkable, inter alia, in its challenging mix of the heavens above and the earth below--the heavens almost transparent in their otherworliness, the earth startling in its particularity (no matter that Saints Stephen and Augustine have descended to earth to help with the putting away).

It got us to considering: do the earthly dignitaries (evidently critics love to try to attach the faces to real people)--do these dignitaries understand just what sort of heavenly universe it is of which they are a part?  Mrs. Buce  says they must: she finds it inconceivable that a commission painter in the veriest black hole of Catholic faith would paint his betters as anything other than fully cognizant of their theological surroundings.

Could be that, as the fellow says, could be something else.  Me, always ready with a Shakespeare reference, I find myself thinking of the end of Midsummer Night's Dream, where the yokels present their play, observed by Duke Theseus and his bride, observed in their turn by the fairies, observed at last by us, the audience of the audience of the audience.  I like to think that maybe the painter was telling us more about the sacred space than even the truest of true believers might believe on their own.


The New York Crank said...

Throwing your friend (and enemies) s into works of art is an old gag that continues, for all I know, to this day.

You and I both knew two "sex novelists" who threw their college into various sex books, naming the characters after streets, dormitories, and sometimes, professors and college enemies.

Sometimes, visual artists would throw in patrons to flatter them, friends to josh them a bit, enemies to besmirch them forever.

On the other hand, the author Lawrence Block once threw me into one of his mystery novels as myself after interviewing me about what I did for a living.

Makes you wonder who the hell Hieronymous
Bosch had in mind.

Very Crankily Yours,
The New York Crank

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

There seems to be one female-type person-type above; and one below. Otherwise, a veritable sausage party on both sides.
I don't know what to make of it. But it sure seems intentional.