The fourth centenary of the death of El Greco was commemorated with a stamp

June 21st, 2014

To commemorate the fourth centenary of the death of El Greco, a souvenir sheet is being produced which reproduces the work View and Plan of Toledo, now kept in the El Greco museum in Toledo. The stamp depicts a fragment of the canvas, in which the Virgin is shown, presenting the chasuble to San Ildefonso.

The painter Doménikos Thetokópoulos began his career as a painter of icons, following the Byzantine tradition of the island, then a territory of the Republic of Venice. Around 1560, he moved to Venice, where he learnt from the great painters of the high Renaissance such as Titian, of whom he was a follower, Tintoretto, Bassano and Veronese. Venetian painting was instrumental in shaping his style and it was in this period that he created works such as: The Flight into Egypt, Stigmatization of St. Francis and Adoration of the Shepherds, revealing his pictorial skills which were to mature over time.

In 1570, he moved to Rome and widened his training by studying the works of Michelangelo and Mannerism. During this period, he lived in the residence of Cardinal Alejandro Farnes, for whom he painted various works such as portraits and also religious subjects commissioned by individuals. However, he did not receive public commissions to enhance his reputation.

In 1577, El Greco set himself up in Toledo, where he lived and worked until his death in 1614. His early works were for the Santo Domingo el Antiguo monastery: three altarpieces exhibiting his particular style (1577-1579). During these years, he painted one of his best works, The Disrobing of Christ, for Toledo cathedral. Known as the foremost painter in the city, he was commissioned to produce large altarpiece canvases for churches and religious institutions, as well as a series of individual portraits which placed him among the best portrait painters of all time.

The work View and Plan of Toledo, which the souvenir sheet reproduces, shows multiple perspectives of the city, a young man showing a blueprint and various allegories, all displayed through El Greco's characteristic brush strokes. Production incorporates Augmented Reality(AR) technology, which allows real and virtual images related to the subject of the stamp to be retrieved through a smartphone camera or a tablet; in this case with stamps dedicated to El Greco and his painting.