Magyar Magyar

El Greco 22 October, 2022 - 19 February, 2023

El GrecoBudapestMuseum of Fine Arts

The first comprehensive exhibition of El Greco’s oeuvre ever organised in Budapest can be viewed at the Museum of Fine Arts from 28 October. The exhibition seeks to provide a broad overview of the life’s work of one of the foremost masters of European art, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, most widely known as El Greco (1541–1614), through presenting the complexity of his visual world and sweeping stylistic development. 

The almost seventy displayed works include more than fifty autograph paintings by the Cretan-Spanish master. The last comprehensive exhibition of El Greco's work on this scale in this part of Europe was in Vienna, more than 20 years ago.



The Museum of Fine Arts Budapest houses a very important collection of Spanish painting, with the highest number of autograph paintings by El Greco in Europe, second only to Spain. Besides pieces from the museum’s own collection, the displayed works were loaned by more than forty private and public collections, including the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the Museo del Greco in Toledo, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The National Gallery in London. The large-scale exhibition will show numerous outstanding works, such as Saint Sebastian from the Sacristy of the Cathedral in Palencia, The Baptism of Christ from the Prado in Madrid, Laocoön from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Saint Louis, King of France, with a Page from the Louvre in Paris, Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple from The National Gallery in London, and Saint James the Elder as Pilgrim from the Church of San Nicolás de Bari in the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Toledo, as well as the altarpiece titled The Resurrection, loaned by the Monastery of Santo Domingo el Antiguo in Toledo, that leaves the city for the very first time. 

The exhibition guides visitors through the geographical locations and art centres that El Greco travelled to, with a special focus on the Italian cities of Venice and Rome, which had a decisive influence on his development as a painter, all the way to Toledo, where the master spent more than half of his life and where his art came into its fullest expression. The show, open until mid-February, presents the works in seven thematically and chronologically arranged sections. Historical narratives, explanations, captions, and audiovisual tools help visitors to form an in-depth picture of the unique oeuvre of the Cretan-Spanish master. The more than fifty autograph masterpieces of the exhibition – including several emblematic compositions that enjoyed great popularity already in El Greco’s lifetime – showcase the master’s oeuvre and his unparalleled stylistic development starting from his early, small panel pictures painted in Italy, still strongly inspired by the Byzantine traditions of icon painting, through his large-format altarpieces executed in Spain, his religious depictions intended for private devotion, and his secular portraits, all the way to the visionary pieces of his last period. Besides a comprehensive presentation of El Greco’s oeuvre, the large-scale exhibition evokes the environments in which the master lived, studied, and worked in an attempt to provide the context for how he drew on and built into his own works the various influences, such as the teachings of several masters active at the time in Venice and Rome. 


Since only four drawings have survived from El Greco’s oeuvre, it is extraordinary that two of them, Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, are displayed at the Budapest show as well.


The curator of the exhibition, Dr Leticia Ruiz Gómez, is the director of the Patrimonio Nacional Royal Collections of Spain, who is currently working on the catalogue raisonné of El Greco’s works.


More information: