December 19, 2008

El Greco, defender of Byzantine art

Hand-written Note Shows El Greco Defending Byzantine Style In Face Of Western Art
A new investigation could end many of the speculations about the works of El Greco and the man himself. A hand-written annotation to a book, similar to the glosses of Saint Emilianus, found in Spain in a copy of Lives of the most excellent architects, painters and sculptors by Giorgio Vasari, has led Nicos Hadjinicolau, a researcher from the Institute of Mediterranean Studies, to conclude that the artist – contrary to popular belief– was a defender of Byzantine art.

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Hadjinicolau says there are no other records of the painter’s critical opinion on the art form aside from the hand-written annotation attributed to him. “The passage I have studied is the exception to the rule, the only time that he makes a comment – and a spirited one – against Vasari,” the expert tells SINC.
A literal translation of the note attributed to the painter reads: “If [Vasari] really knew the nature of the Greek style of which he speaks, he would deal with it differently in what he says. He compares it with Giotto, but what Giotto did is simple in comparison, because the Greek style is full of ingenious difficulties.”

2 comments:

Crimson Guard said...

More accurate to say "Roman Art", than Byzantine.

DagoRed said...

Anyway the criticisms of Vasari to the Greek were not around the ancient art, but on the excessive speed of the sketch and on its little accuracy, that he inherited from the style of its teacher, the Tintoretto.
Vasari was also critical on the Tintoretto for this fury in to paint, that the students of the classical style didn't like it.