Portrait of the sculptor by El Greco

Portrait of the sculptor by El Greco

In the picture of El Greco, which is commonly called “Portrait of a sculptor,” a sculptor is depicted working in the studio to create the bust of Philip II.

It is commonly believed that the artist portrayed the famous sculptor Pompeo Leoni, who was the chief sculptor at the Madrid court of Philip II. Father Pompeo Leoni, Leon Leoni, worked as a medalist and sculptor at the court of Emperor Charles V, the father of Philip II.

The reason for doubting that it is Pompeo Leoni in the portrait is that the marble bust over which the sculptor works in a painting is significantly different from the real works of Leoni.

The sculptor is clothed in a modest but elegant black suit. Black penetrating eyes gaze intently into the viewer. The character of the sculptor is guessed in some details of the porte. This is an ironically raised eyebrow, a tall forehead of a thinker, a hidden grin, a network of wrinkles that diverge from the corners of his eyes.

With great patience and perseverance, his hands are working on marble. It seems that the sculptor for a moment tore his eyes from work, and slightly turned to look towards the viewer. Whoever depicted in the portrait, Pompeo Leoni or another sculptor, indisputably, the artist knew him well and had a sincere respect.

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