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Attributed to El Greco (Greek painter, 1541-1614, active in Spain) , Portrait of a Man

Core Record

Title Portrait of a Man
Alternative Title An Unknown Man
Collection Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums): Pollok House
Artist Attributed to El Greco (Greek painter, 1541-1614, active in Spain)
Date Earliest about 1590
Date Latest about 1600
Signed yes
Description Unlike the other painting by El Greco in the Stirling Maxwell collection at Pollok House, the Lady in a Fur Wrap, the authorship of this signed male portrait has never been seriously doubted. The identity of this gentleman, in common with many El Greco portraits, is not known but it remains a penetrating character study with the figure turning uneasily towards the spectator. This psychological tension, the degree of elongation of form and the paint handling suggest a dating quite late in the artist's career, and a date somewhere in the 1590s is accepted by most writers.
Current Accession Number PC.17
Inscription front ur 'Domenikos Theotokopoulos epoiei' (in cursive Greek letters)
Subject portrait
Measurements 73.3 x 46.5 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by Mrs Anne Maxwell Macdonald 1967.
Provenance Gabriel Bermudez, Toledo (;); bought for Baron Taylor; King Louis-Philippe, Duc d'Orleans, Galerie Espagnole, Louvre, Paris, 1838-48; Louis-Philippe sale, Christie's, London, 1853, lot 22, called 'Portrait of a Gentleman of the time of Philip III', by D. Théocopuli, bought by Colnaghi, £10; Sir William Stirling Maxwell; by descent to his son Sir John Stirling Maxwell; by descent to his daughter Mrs Anne Maxwell Macdonald.
Principal Exhibitions Spanish Old Masters, Grafton Galleries, London, 1913-14, cat. no. 126; From El Greco to Goya, Thos. Harris Ltd., London, 1938, cat. no. 4; Exhibition of Spanish Paintings, National Gallery, London, 1947, cat. no. 15; Spanish Paintings from El Greco to Goya, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1951, cat. no. 19; Art Treasures Centenary Exhibition, Manchester City Art Gallery, 1957; Paintings from Pollok House, Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum, 1960-61; Paintings from Glasgow Art Gallery: A Loan Exhibition of the National Art-Collections Fund, Wildenstein, London, 1980, cat. no. 15; El Greco to Goya, National Gallery, London, 1981, cat. no. 7.
Publications Notice de la Galerie espagnole, Louvre, 1838 (4th edn), no. 267; Cossìo, M. B., EL Greco, Madrid, 1908, no. 347, as El Grec, 1594-1604; Mayer, A. L., Dominico Theotocopuli El Greco, Munich, 1926, no. 347b; Caw, J. L., Catalogue of Pictures at Pollok House, Glasgow, 1936, p. 12, no. 13, as El Greco; Camòn Aznar, J., Domenico Greco, Madrid, 1950, no. 747, fig. 881, as El Greco, 1590; Waterhouse, E. K. (ed.), Catalogue of an Exhibition of Spanish paintings from El Greco to Goya, Edinburgh 1951, no. 19; Soehner, H., 'Greco in Spanien: Teil 1', Münchner Jahrbuch der Bildenden Kunst, Dritte Folge, vol. 8, 1957, p. 179, as EL Greco, 1601-3; Gaya Nuño, J. A., La pintura española fuera de España, Madrid, 1958, no. 1318, p. 197; Wethey, H., El Greco and his School, N. J., 1962, vol. 1, no. 141, as El Greco, about 1595-1600; The Stirling Maxwell Collection Pollok House, Corporation of Glasgow: Museum and Art Galleries Department, c.1967, p. 19, no. 17; Manzini, G. and Frati, T., L'opera completa del Greco, Milan, 1969, no. 109; Waterhouse, E. and E. Baccheschi, El Greco: The Complete Paintings, Granada, London, 1980, no. 96, p. 66 (repr.); Baticle, J. and C. Marinas, La Galerie espagnole de Louis-Philippe au Louvre, 1838-1848, Paris, 1981 (Notes et Documents des Musées de France, 4), no. 267, pp. 172-73, as Greco; de la Serna, R. G., El Greco, Dresden, 1982, plate 6.

The canvas has been enlarged considerably in the lower part of the actual painting's surface. In August 1981 X-rays revealed the addition to be part of a still-life. The treatment of the hand and cuff is rather different from that of the rest of the painting and there is no serious argument that the enlarging of the canvas was done by El Greco himself. The added part of canvas was probably repainted considerably later, when the canvas was enlarged.

Rights Owner Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums)
Author Dr Heiner Krellig



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