Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Opening of the Fifth Seal by El Greco

'Opening of the Fifth Seal/ The Vision of St John' by El Greco

The image was painted 1608-1604 and yet it appears contemporary in many ways. Although, this could be due to the paintings influence on the artists that followed. Artists influenced by this piece include Picasso, but I can also recognize the influence on contemporary artist, Peter Howson. The subject of the piece comes from the Book of Revelation. This stylistic interpretation, reveals a lot of emotion and darkness. I feel as though El Greco is held back because of the subject matter. I wonder what he would have created if he was born in another time period; if he had lived during a time when it was acceptable for an artist to reveal their inner world. I feel slightly short changed, he reveals only a glimpse of his exciting and interesting mind. El Greco pushed the boundaries as much as he could given the circumstances. I keep imaging his paintings without the constraints. The painting reveals an artist with so much to say and yet he can't fully speak. The image belongs to different time periods and cannot fully satisfy either. One time frame asks that he adheres to the rule book; the other asks that he throws it away. It is a painting of compromise.