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Unknown El Greco painting of Jesus discovered in Spain

A small-scale painting of Jesus Christ in Spain has now been authenticated to be an original work of Renaissance painter El Greco.

As per the Spanish newspaper El País, the work depicts Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns and carrying a cross with him. The research on the work was undertaken by the Center d’Art d’Època Moderna (CAEM) by the University of Lleida, Spain. The team was led by Ximo Company, who is the director of CAEM and also an art history professor.

Ximo was accompanied by the late Carmen Garrido, who was the founder and director of the Technical Documentation Cabinet at the Prado Museum. The attribution was carried out by the researcher Mariona Navarro. Carmen Garrido passed away suddenly on December 8 last year. His colleagues dedicated the research, which took more than two years, to Garrido.

El Greco - Portrait of a Man - WGA10554.jpg
Portrait of a Man (presumed self-portrait of El Greco, c. 1595–1600)

While it was speculated earlier too that the work carried many of Greco’s stylistic elements, the research confirmed that it was made by Greco himself and not his students. The research and analysis involved many methods, including comparing the work with Greco’s other works in the Prado Museum and the El Greco Museum. According to Ximo, the work could stay unknown thus far because Greco kept it in his studio throughout his lifetime and did not exhibit it for others. The small size of the painting also suggests that the work might have made to primarily serve as the model for other paintings for Greco. He further added, “However, due to the refined finish of this exquisite work, in addition to its small size, it could also be a work conceived for a private oratory of a noble or clergyman.”