El Greco

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Brithny Zhang
10/1/10

The Trinity (La Trinidad) by El Greco

This oil on canvas painting was implemented between 1577 and 1580, and was one of nine paintings that El Greco made for the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos. It represents the scene in which God, the most imposing figure in the painting, is holding his son Jesus Christ, who presumably has passed away. The third part of the trinity El Greco is referring to resides in the presence of the dove flying overhead, which is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. All three (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) are in a straight vertical line down the middle of the painting. Surrounding them are angels, who are situated in various positions, some with dramatic expressions on their faces. The colors are mainly of a cool tone, predominately of purple, green, and blue, with isolated warm touches that bring vitality to the scene. The blue is extremely important, conveying royalty, and the fact that the figure symbolizing God is draped in a rich purple cloak and also royal gold, accentuates his high noble status. The gold peeking beyond the hills around the dove are very important as well, symbolizing the heavens.

The entire composition is heart-shaped and focused on the body of Christ, which takes up most of the painting and is placed in the very center of the piece. His body is also shaped at an angle and almost tortuously contorted, which is characteristic of El Greco. Other elements characteristic of El Greco paintings include the exaggeration seen in the faces and the vividness of the colors, and the overall dramatic, Manneristic style of the painting.
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