"To move the work is to destroy the work." ~ Richard Serra

Monday, March 1, 2010

El Greco's "The Burial of Count Orgaz" (1586)

Although site-specific paintings are not as common in today's society, history has shown us many examples of paintings designed to fill a certain space. Most of these paintings were portraits commissioned by royals and other aristocrats who desired to fill a space in their homes. Though most of these paintings found a place in a member of the upperclass's personal collection, certain pieces were designed to fit into other (more public) spaces.

A prime example of the latter type of site-specific painting is "El entierro del Conde Orgaz" ("The Burial of Count Orgaz") by El Greco. This painting was commissioned in 1586 by the church of Santo Tome in Toledo after the death of Count Orgaz, a pious man who had dedicated much of his time, money, and effort to charitable deeds. The painting was designed to fit into the space above Count Orgaz's tomb inside the church of Santo Tome. For this reason, the painting has a uniquely rounded top so that the edges can fit in the space provided (as shown below).

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