The Burial of Count Orgaz, by El Greco

This is one of my favorite paintings. It was painted by El Greco in 1586 and hangs on the wall in the vestibule of the Church of Santo Tome in Toledo, Spain. The unusual shape of the painting (the rounded top) is due to the fact that it was painted to fit onto a wall of this shape in the church.

In this painting, El Greco depicts the soul of Count Orgaz (the baby figure in the middle of the painting) ascending to heaven while his physical body is being lowered into a coffin. The soul is being assisted in its ascent by an angel. The figures holding the Count's body are the spirits of St. Stephen (on the left) and St. Augustine (on the right). In the bottom left corner of the painting there is a small child pointing at St. Stephen's sleeve. This child is El Greco's son. The only other figure in the painting who is actually looking out of the painting, toward the viewer, is El Greco. He is in the back row. His face appears above an upraised hand, immediately above the head of St. Stephen.

Thanks to Belinda Prattis who contributed to the accuracy of the text above.

- Brock Wood

The Burial of Count Orgaz by El Greco

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