IBERDROLA Renovables, through its Greek affiliate Rokas, is sponsoring the exhibition El Greco and his Workshop, organised by Spain’s SEACEX (State Corporation for Overseas Cultural Action) and the Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation. It is being held until 5 January at Athens’ Goulandris Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art.
The show, honouring “El Greco”, was officially opened by Queen Sofía. She was accompanied by Greek premier Constantinos Karamanlis, Spain’s ambassador to Greece Juan Ramón Martínez Salazar, and Ignacio Galán, chairman of Spain’s IBERDROLA utility group, among other dignitaries.
In his remarks, Galán said “In the 16th C. Domenicos Theotocopoulos, an innovator in his time and a model for later artistic movements, was a magnificent link between our two countries: Greece and Spain, a link that has become stronger over time, with close sentimental, cultural and economic ties that three years ago enabled a Greek company, Rokas, and a Spanish company, IBERDROLA, to join forces as this country’s largest producer of wind energy, for which we feel great satisfaction and pride.”
The chairman of IBERDROLA underlined that “For the IBERDROLA group Greece is not only one of our main expansion areas, but also a country to which we are firmly committed and in which we want to continue to create wealth and well-being, via the building of energy infrastructures that can meet this country’s important energy challenges”.
Galán said “our intention is to remain in Greece for a long time, and not only in the economic sphere but also in the cultural one, as shown by our sponsorship of this exhibition, in order to contribute to the union between the two countries.”
At mid-year IBERDROLA’s operational wind power generation capacity came to 210 MW in Greece, where its strategic partner, in which it now holds a 52.7% stake, is the Rokas group, Greece’s largest developer and operator of wind farms.
El Greco and his Workshop
The show sponsored by IBERDROLA Renovables, covers the Spanish period of the painter, who was born in Crete in 1541, and died in Toledo Spain, in 1614, where he had lived and worked since 1577. The exhibition includes a dozen works by the artist, and others by his son Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli (1578-1631), and his pupil Luis Tristán (1585-1624), plus paintings by Blas Muñoz (last quarter of 17th C.), and works attributed to anonymous painters associated with El Greco’s workshop. Some later copies and a 20th C. forgery are also shown, to illustrate the painter’s lasting importance in the history of art.
At the beginning of 1580, and now definitively installed in Toledo, El Greco decided to found a workshop that would allow him to engage in the making of two types of commissions: large altarpieces and devotional paintings, from which he would obtain the maximum economic benefit. Artistically he was not overshadowed by any other painters but economically he was, since there did not exist a clientele that was able to pay his high prices. Most commissions came from convents, parish churches, and religious individuals without excessive economic problems. To land these customers he had to compete with other Toledo painters whose economic pretensions were more modest.
It was here where the work in his workshop would prove its worth. The maestro reserved for himself the execution of the altarpieces and major commissions, the portraits and the models for the devotional paintings, but his assistants would make series of copies of these --often signed by El Greco himself although he had not put this hand to them-- which would be available for sale at affordable prices and in large quantity. As of 1590, his son Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli was one of the pillars on which the workshop rested and in the 1604-1607 period another contributor in large measure was Luis Tristán, who adhered to El Greco's way of working.
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