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Important Painting by El Greco Once Owned by Ferdinand Marcos Returns to Greece
A man observes the work "The Crowning of the Virgin," made by Greek painter Domenicos Theotocopoulos "El Greco" on view at the National Gallery in Athens, Greece. The work, taken to Athens by the Onassis Foundation, will be part of the permanent collection. Photo: EFE / Katerina Mavrona.


ATHENS.- The Alexander S. Onassis foundation has returned a painting made by El Greco and once owned by Ferdinand Marcos to Greece. "The Crowning of the Virgin," an early 17th century draft for a larger work by El Greco was bought from an unidentified US art dealer in the summer, said Alexander S. Onassis foundation chairman Anthony Papadimitriou.

The National Gallery has three original masterpieces by El Greco; the Burial of Christ (1568-1570), one of the most characteristic works from the Venetian period of the artist, and Saint Peter (1600-1607), both recently acquired thanks to contributions coming from allover Greece, as well as the Concert of the Angels (1608-1614), purchased by the Greek state in 1931.

Domenicos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) was born in 1541 in Venetian-occupied Candia, the present-day Herakleio, in Crete, of well-to-do, Greek Orthodox parents. Along with painting he studied classics. In Candia he painted icons in the style of the post-Byzantine Cretan School, where influences from the Italian Renaissance are apparent. In 1567 he left Candia for Venice, where he studied under the great Venetian painter Titian and became familiar with the art of the Venetian School of the Renaissance, which was characterized by lavish colour.

From 1570 to 1577 he lived in Rome. He was a guest at the palace of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, where he met many intellectuals. In 1572 Theotokopoulos enrolled at St. Luke’s Academy. His painting during this period combined the lavish Venetian colour with the spindly dynamic figures of the Roman mannerists.

In 1577 El Greco left for Spain, like many Italian artists who went there in order to work on the decoration of the Escorial palace. The King of Spain, Philip II, did not appreciate Theotokopoulos’ art, which was considered somewhat bizarre. El Greco settled permanently in Toledo, the former imperial capital of Spain, which continued to be the religious seat of the country. There the proud Cretan received important commissions and painted many remarkable works such as the Espolio (The Disrobing of Christ), and The Burial of Count Orgaz.

Far from the influence of the Italians and the intrigues of the court, El Greco discovered his inner self and created an art of sublime spirituality, where Byzantium, the Renaissance and Mannerism were fused into an original and unique style.

Theotokopoulos died in Toledo in 1614 without ever returning to his homeland. He always signed his works in Greek, using Byzantine characters: «Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος ο Κρης εποίει».

The National Art Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum was established in 1878 as a small collection of 117 works exhibited at the Athens University. In 1896, Alexandros Soutzos, a jurist and art lover, bequeathed his collection and estate to the Greek Government aspiring to the creation of an art museum. The museum opened in 1900 and the first curator was the famous Greek painter Georgios Jakobides from Munich. After World War II the works began for a new building. After relocating the sculptures in the new National Glyptotheque, there is a discussion to renovate the main building and to build a new wing.

The gallery ehibitions are mainly focused on post-Byzantine Greek Art. The gallery owns and exhibits also an extensive collection of European artists. Particularly valuable, is the collection of paintings from the Renaissance.

Approximately four million people have visited the National Gallery in the last fourteen years. Its exhibition activity is mainly supported by sponsorships that cover up to half of its budget. The National Gallery has opened the last years branches in Nafplion, Sparta and Corfu.






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October 21, 2008

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Whitney Museum Presents a New Look at Alexander Calder

Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Italy Opens Bill Viola Exhibition

Lee Miller Retrospective Exhibition Opens at Jeu de Paume

Guggenheim Foundation Appoints Juan Ignacio Vidarte as Chief Officer for Global Strategies

Extending Aesthetic Horizons: Christie's London Photographs Sale in November 2008

Russia 1900: Art and Culture in the Empire of the Last Tsar on View at Mathildenhohe Institute

Sotheby's New York Sales of Contemporary Art to be Held on November 11 & 12

Christie's Auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art Realises $55.5 Million

Richard Serra's Plow Arrives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao on a Longterm Loan

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Public Art Fund Presents...The Millenium Paper Airplane Contest

Actor, Singer Lynda Carter to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award From The National Museum of Women in the Arts

VSA arts and MetLife Foundation Announce 'Arts Connect All' Grant Opportunity

Abraaj Capital Art Prize To Announce Finalists of First Competition

October 20, 2008

Bruegel to Rubens: Masters of Flemish Painting Exhibition Opens at The Royal Collection

Roman Culture Brought to Life in Kunsthal Rotterdam Exhibition

Serial Landscape Photographs by Three Legendary Photographers on view at National Gallery of Art

Lucian Freud's Portrait of Francis Bacon Sells for 5.4 Million Pounds at Christie's

PAFA Is Only East Coast Venue for Peter Saul: A Retrospective

Film Society Mounts the Most Complete Retrospective of Polish Filmmaker's Work

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October UBS 12 X 12 Presents Industry of the Ordinary at Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago

Dutch Factory Girls: Photos from the Collection of the National Archive on View in Denmark

One Hundred Works by Latin American Artist Fernando Botero on View in Memphis

Spertus Museum Presents Double Vision Exhibition

A Major Exhibition of Paintings by George Tooker Presented at the National Academy Museum

The McNay Mounts a Major Retrospective of the Kinetic Sculptures of George Rickey

Exploring Surrealism, a New American Century and the Manipulation of Film Stock

Conversations in Clay at the Katonah Museum of Art

New sculpture in Babbidge Library to be dedicated Oct. 23

October 19, 2008

Cranbrook Art Museum Presents an Unmatched Exhibition of Works of Andy Warhol

First Solo Exhibition in an American Museum for Nathalie Djurberg

Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples Premieres at National Gallery of Art

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Artistic Luxury: Fabergé, Tiffany, Lalique on View at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Sotheby's Sale of Contemporary Art Realises $38.1 Million

William McKeown Exhibition to Open at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

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Philip Pearlstein: Objectifications Opens at Montclair Art Museum

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October 18, 2008

Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940-1976 Opens in Saint Louis

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The Cobra Museum Celebrates Sixty Years of the Foundation of the CoBrA Movement

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Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- The Morgan receives a major Renoir drawing unseen for over 50 years

2.- Recording console built by Elvis Costello and used to record Stairway to Heaven stars at Bonhams sale

3.- On December 9, estate jewelry & more goes up for bid at Turner Auctions + Appraisals

4.- French museum chief hits back at call to return African art

5.- David Castillo Gallery to present works by a stellar group of artists at Art Basel Miami Beach

6.- Ancient Chinese painting auctioned for almost $60 million at Christie's Hong Kong

7.- Exploring the watery remains of France's sunken Roman port of Olbia

8.- Exhibition examines eroticism in paintings and drawings of the male and female nude

9.- Thieves nab Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting from Vienna auction house

10.- Israeli archaeologists unveil rare stone mask dating to the Neolithic

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