View of Toledo

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View of Toledo
El Greco - View of Toledo - Google Art Project.jpg
Artist El Greco
Year 1596–1600
Type Oil on canvas
Dimensions 121.3 cm × 108.6 cm (47.8 in × 42.8 in)
Location Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

View of Toledo, is one of the two surviving landscapes painted by El Greco. The other, View and Plan of Toledo lies at Museo Del Greco, Toledo, Spain.

It is among the best known depictions of the sky in Western art, along with Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night, some landscapes by William Turner, and some works by Monet. It features sharp color contrast between the sky and the hills below. Painted in a Mannerist (or Baroque) style, the work takes liberties with the actual layout of Toledo (some buildings are depicted in different positions than their actual location, though the Castle of San Servando is accurately depicted on the side). It is signed on the lower right corner by El Greco.


The painting is made with oil canvas. Isolated landscapes are rare among Spanish paintings of the Renaissance and even Baroque periods. This makes El Greco the first landscaper in the history of Spanish art. It is thought that this painting's enigmatic symbolism could be related to the mystic spirit that the city was involved with during those times.[1] The English art historian David Davies asserts that the philosophies of Platonism and ancient Neo-Platonism, the works of Plotinus and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, the texts of the Church fathers and the liturgy offer the keys to the understanding of El Greco's style.[2] Summarizing the ensuing scholarly debate on this issue, José Álvarez Lopera, curator at the Museo del Prado, Madrid, concludes that the presence of "Byzantine memories" is obvious in El Greco's mature works, though there are still some obscure issues concerning his Byzantine origins needing further illumination.[3]


  1. ^ 'Vista de Toledo', ArteHistoria. Accedido el 8/11/2010.
  2. ^ D. Davies, "The Influence of Neo-Platonism on El Greco", 20 etc.
    * D. Davies, the Byzantine Legacy in the Art of El Greco, 425–445
  3. ^ J.A. Lopera, El Greco: From Crete to Toledo, 18–19

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