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Worship the name of Jesus

Painting, 1580, 55.1×33.8 cm

Description of the artwork «Worship the name of Jesus»

Was uneasy relationship of El Greco the Spanish Royal court. Like any ambitious Creator of the time, he aspired to be a painter of the court, not to know the negative nor in the orders nor in the media. A chance fell to him in June of 1579.

For artists the most "fish" place in Spain was a huge Royal Palace of the Escorial near Madrid. For its design king Philip II picked the best of the best from this end to the court have been called fashionable Italian painters, and Titian among them. Tried to get into the winner's circle and El Greco: on one of versions, this was the main reason he came to Spain.

The Cretan decided to catch the tail of luck during the visit of the king to Toledo, where lived the artist. To his arrival he wrote a picture with the Royal person – "Vision of Philip II", also known as "Allegory of the Holy League" and "the Adoration of the name of Jesus". El Greco managed to put on the canvas at the same time so much that all three have the naming right to life.

What is in the painting of El Greco's "Adoration of the name of Jesus"?


The composition is crowned by a monogram of three letters, originating from a contraction of the Greek spelling of the name Jesus (Ihsous) is surrounded by angels and saints. In this form it has existed since the 9th century as the seal on the coins of the Byzantine Empire. Later, the monogram HIS, the Catholics began to use for decorating various Church utensils. And in the 16th century these three letters received interpretation Jesum Habemus Socium, which translated from Latin means "God With us" – the motto of the Jesuits.

The lower left corner at the mercy of Tom, for whom, in fact, was started the whole picture. King Philip II kneels in the company of respectable opinion: Pope Pius V and the Doge Alvise I Mocenigo – the head of the Venetian Republic. May 25, 1571, the three signed the Treaty establishing the Holy League, a military coalition of Catholic States to combat the Ottoman Empire, who sought to capture the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea.

According to one version, El Greco timed writing painting death in 1578 don John of Austria, brother of Philip II. Under his leadership the troops of the Holy League defeated the Ottomans at the battle of Lepanto. As the Turks professed Islam, it was considered incorrect, and the war against them were also religious in nature. The jaws of mythical monsters Leviathan floating in the hell fire in the right corner of the painting absorbs the lost souls of heretics in large quantities.

Did El Greco to reach the goal?


Yes and no. At first, he managed to arouse the interest of the king, and he appointed a meeting in person. It turned out that the author of paintings dedicated to the crowned person, previously recommended for work in the Escorial Titian himself. Refusing invitations for painting the Palace because of senile ailments, he wrote in a letter to Philip II, his young and talented student from the island of Crete worthy to replace him in this important matter.

The Governor was in no hurry to follow the advice of the eminent masters and decided to put the El Greco test, he ordered in 1580 writing the altar of the image of "the Martyrdom of St. Maurice" for the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. With this job thing went wrong at once: the artist had delayed execution of orders, citing a lack of funds to purchase the necessary consumables. The king ordered to meet his needs and provide him with a precious ultramarine to "the work could be performed with that perfection, with some fitting work to the artist in the service of the king."

Despite the number of used ultramarine and the fact that artistic merit, the painting of El Greco "The martyrdom of St. Mauritius" not inferior and possibly superior attracted the attention of the Emperor's work "the Adoration of the name of Jesus", it failed to become a fateful cloth, and fulfill its mission. The artist too freely approached the interpretation of religious scenes, and he dedicated the first plan is not the very moment of martyrdom of the Saint, and his conversation with his colleagues, in which they decide to bring their lives in sacrifice for the faith.

Philip II was very religious, and he was more interested in adherence to the canons, not artistic heights. So the coveted work in the Escorial went to the Italian Romulo Cincinnato (who remembers that name?). And the unfortunate painting took a seat on one of the walls of the monastery, adjacent to the Royal Palace.

There is stored so far and the original picture (size 140 x 110 cm), gave El Greco a chance at a dream come true. The artist also made small copies of some of their work to keep in my Studio. And a copy of the "Worship the name of Jesus", held by the National gallery of London is one of them.

Author: Natalia Azarenka


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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Mannerism

Technique: Oil, Tempera

Materials: Panel

Date of creation: 1580

Size: 55.1×33.8 cm

Artwork in selections: 10 selections

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