View and plan of Toledo

View and plan of Toledo Pulse para ampliar View and plan of Toledo

El Greco (1541-1614)

  • CE00014
  • 1610-1614
  • Oil on canvas

Probably the most important work keep at the museum, where the grandiosity of the Imperial city is made eternal with the image created by El Greco. This work is specially relevant because this type of representations did not exist in the Iberian Peninsula, beyond the stamps of the Flemish tradition, which El Greco might have know. With this painting the artitst helps spread the new image of the city, representing the main, modern, buildings of the time: the Alcazar, Bisagra's gate, and, above all, Tavera's hospital. The hospital appears in a cloud, as an explicit reference to the building's administrator, Pedro Salazar de Mendoza, friend of the painter and probably the person who commisioned the work. The painter represents a multiple image of the city: the perspective view, as well as a detailed plan of the urban layout. He also includes an allegory of the river Tagus -the golden sculpture pouring water and prosperity- and the most iconic religious imagery of the city: the imposition of the chasuble to Saint Ildefonso. This is one of the three views of Toledo mentioned in the 1614 inventory, redacted by Jorge Manuel after his father's death.

In the plan, apart from the plan's key, there is an inscription: "It was necessary to place the Hospital of Don Juan Tavera in the form of a model because, not only did it cover the Puerta de Visagra [Bisagra], but the dome or cupola rose up over the city and so once placed as a model and moved from its location it seemed to me to show the façade better than elsewhere, and as to how it fits within the city, this can be seen in the plan … Also in the story of Our Lady bringing the chasuble to Saint Ildefonso, in order to adorn him and to make the figures large, I have in a certain way taken advantage of their being celestial bodies, as in the case of lights, which when viewed from afar however small they may appear to be large"