El Greco Attribution Controversy

January 5 2021

Image of El Greco Attribution Controversy

Picture: The Art Newspaper

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has kindly drawn my attention to an article published by The Art Newspaper.

The piece revolves around the attribution of the above painting of Christ Carrying the Cross in a private collection which was recently announced as being by El Greco by the Centre d’Art d’Època Moderna (CAEM) at the University of Lleida, Catalonia. However, the El Greco scholar Fernando Marías Franco of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid disagrees.

Marías Franco is quoted as saying:

Although I have only seen the pictures in El País and on Twitter, the painting is doubtful [as an autograph work by El Greco]. It looks reworked and restored—the mouth is terrible, so are the cross, hands and signature.

As it happens, the painting was researched and reattributed with the help of Carmen Garrido Pérez, the former director of technical documentation at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Pérez, who was employed by the Centre, died last month. Their work has pointed towards a possible mention in an 1614 inventory of El Greco's assets made by his son after his death, however this loose link has been criticised.

It seems that the picture hangs in the balance, as the Centre are addressing the many criticisms brought by Marías Franco. Watch this space.

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