Allegory of the Christian Knight


Datos principales

Modena Triptych
1567 h.
37 x 24 cm.
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Esquema relacional

The Modena Triptych is thought to be El Greco's most outstanding work from his early period in his native Crete. The central panel is decorated with this image of the Allegory of the Christian Knight with the View of Mount Sinai on the back. The side panels were decorated with the Adoration of the Shepherds and the [Baptism of Christ#CUADROS_en#1677]. The name of the triptych comes from having been discovered in the basements of the Galleria Estense in Modena in 1937. This scene is dominated by the figure of Christ, who is carrying the flag of the Resurrection while stepping on death and the devil depicted on top of a book with the whole scene being held up by the symbols of the Evangelists: the angel, the bull, the eagle and man. There are various symbols from the Passion such as the column, the cross and the ladder, held up by angels. Christ crowns the Christian knight, who has also been interpreted as a prince and even a saint. Above this figure are two angels, one of which is holding the chalice and the host. The lower section is dominated by three female figures, one of whom is surrounded by children, and on each side of the women is the area of the condemned, dominated by Leviathan's mouth, and the area of the blessed, presided by a bishop who is giving communion. This enigmatic scene can be understood as a Last Judgement, which was a very common image in the Gothic world. El Greco has arranged the composition around zigzagging lines which herald the diagonals of the Baroque. This composition seems to have been inspired by a Venetian print while the area of hell was inspired by a painting by [Dürer#PINTOR#1814]. This shows El Greco's dependence on prints that came from Italy, to which he added [Byzantine#ESTILOS#51] elements, in accordance with the typical Cretan dualism of the 16th century. However, El Greco's originality lies in his wish to capture the Renaissance concepts and surpass the models which were his source. The intellectual quality of many of his paintings is also significant, which was another aspect of his originality. This image seems to precede the Triumph of the Holy League which he later painted for Philip II.


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