The Annunciation by El Greco
As part of the exchange project established between Madrid’s Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and the Capitoline Museums, which has already been responsible for taking Caravaggio’s La Buona Ventura to the Spanish capital, the Capitoline Supervisory Authority has now chosen to exhibit The Annunciation by “El Greco” here in Rome.
This great artist, originally from Crete, spent the last 40 years of his life in Spain - which is where he acquired the nickname that the world knows him by - but despite the fact that the artist lived in Italy for some ten years (1567 – 1577), few of El Greco’s works can be found in Italy’s museums. The Annunciation, an original El Greco, painted in Toledo between 1596 and 1600, is the final version of a large painting, complete with an elaborate, articulated wood frame, commissioned as a majestic altarpiece (in Spanish retablo), for the most important altar in the College of Our Lady of the Incarnation in Madrid. The Retablo of Doña Maria de Aragon as it is known, named after the founder of the College and the person who commissioned it, was dismantled in the early 19th century and five of the large panels found their way to the Prado whilst the sixth went to the National Museum of Rumania in Bucharest. Dedicated to the Redeemer, the retablo was probably envisioned in two levels with the Annunciation, flanked by the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Baptism of Christ below and the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Pentecost above, with perhaps a seventh, smaller painting that completed the work.
El Greco’s painting style is the result of the artist’s in depth knowledge of three different cultures, namely the Byzantine tradition that is hieratical and spiritual associated with a fixed framework, Italian art – which reached insuperable expressive heights during the Renaissance when nature was translated into figurative representations – and finally Spanish art that is often introspective in character.
Although El Greco never denied how much he had learned during his time in Italy, it was, however, only in Spain and in the city of Toledo, that he achieved such exalted levels of spirituality. His reflective interpretation of religious themes was accentuated by elongated figures and the distortion of nature in favour of calling forth something that was almost abstract. It is not by chance that the “rediscovery” of the artist at the end of the 19th century is one of the premises of the vanguard of modern art.
The Annunciation is one of the highest pinnacles of the artist’s final style, where elongated shapes lay over quick brush strokes, with an almost paroxysmal use of colour and a vacuous horror that results in every part of the composition being filled.
January 24 - April 17, 2017
Open daily, from 9.30 to 19.30;
Last admission 1 hour before closing time
N.B For eventual openings/closures please visit the page dedicated to the announcements
Every first Sunday of the month free admission for residents in Rome and in the metropolitan city area.
Regular Fees, including the exhibitions "The Annunciation by El Greco, 24.01-17.04.2017" and "Leonardo da Vinci and the Flight. The original Codex manuscript as a multi-medial and 3D experience, 21.01-17.04.2017":
Adults: € 15,00
Concessions: € 13,00
Roman Citizens only (by showing a valid ID):
Adults: € 13,00;
Concessions: € 11,00;
Capitolini Card (valid 7 days) "Capitoline Museums + Centrale Montemartini + exhibitions (The Annunciation by El Greco, 24.01-17.04.2017" and "Leonardo da Vinci and the Flight. The original Codex manuscript as a multi-medial and 3D experience, 21.01-17.04.2017)" combined ticket:
Adults: € 16,00;
Concessions: € 14,00;
Roman Citizens only (by showing a vaild ID):
Adults: € 15,00;
Concessions: € 13,00;
Tickets can be purchased with also credit cards and ATM.
Just show your printed receipt at turnstiles of the Capitoline Museums and the Ara Pacis Museum; no need to go to the ticket office.
Audio and video guides
Video guides in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian: € 6.00;
Audio guides for children (recommended age: 6-12 years) in Italian and English: € 4,00.
+39 060608 (every day from 9:00 to 19:00)
Roma Capitale, Assessorato alla Crescita culturale - Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali
In cooperation with
MasterCard Priceless Rome
Zètema Progetto Cultura