Mater Dolorosa


The Virgin Mary ("Mater Dolorosa"), 1590s
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek, 1541–1614)
Oil on canvas; 20 1/2 x 14 1/8 in. (52 x 36 cm)

We saw this painting at the Metropolitan Museum's El Greco exhibit yesterday. Among the best works in the show, this was one of the few I had never seen before, even in reproduction. It's haunting and so human, not "iconic" even though it was inspired by his early career as a Byzantine icon painter.

The show ends on the 11th, and is definitely worth a visit. Take a day off and do not try to go on the weekend. It was pretty crowded even on a Tuesday afternoon with a crowd of all ages. I really liked hearing all of the secular Jewish New Yorkers asking each other questions. Given that El Greco's career was mainly spent in Philip II's Spain, it is mostly religious and filled with Catholic themes. Not exactly the area of expertise for a lot of people in the crowd. I wasn't raised Catholic, so most of what I know about Catholicism is from European art too.

Go read what James had to say on the exhibit.

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Published on January 7, 2004 8:09 PM.

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