The Descent of the Holy Spirit by El Greco

The Descent of the Holy Spirit by El Greco

One of the most famous works of El Greco later painting “The Descent of the Holy Spirit.” Dynamic composition unfolds from the bottom up, which is typical for the late period of El Greco’s work.

Special attention should be paid to the type of convulsive movement characteristic of the late El Greco, as if from a missed charge of electric current; the structure of the image is based on the comparison of motion and stiffness, numbness and spirituality, boundlessness and closure. However, the externally effective picture is written as if with a cold heart and does not produce a strong impression.

El Greco does not depart from the traditional depiction of the gospel story of the descent of the Holy Spirit. Also traditionally the Holy Spirit is depicted in the form of a dove. The central place in the composition is occupied by Mary, reverently raising her eyes upward, surrounded by the other disciples of Christ. In a narrow dark room, straying into a tight circle, in grief and persecution, they remained faithful to the command of the Lord “not to go away from Jerusalem,” where they were most at risk from those who crucified their Teacher. But the greatest miracle happened – the power of the Holy Spirit rested on each of them, appearing in the form of fiery tongues.

It is believed that the second right of the apostle is a self-portrait of El Greco. This same person appears in the background in the painting “Betrothal of the Mother of God,” probably the last work of the master.

There is also the assumption that the painting “The Descent of the Holy Spirit” was finalized by another artist, perhaps Jorge Manuel, the son of El Greco.

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