Burial of Count Orgaz, by el Greco

Burial of Count Orgaz, by el Greco
Isabel del Rio

Burial Count Orgaz, by el Greco. Painted in 1586, it’s placed in Santo Tome church. Toledo. Spain.

Burial Count Orgaz, by el Greco. Santo Tome church

Burial Count Orgaz, by el Greco. Santo Tome church

“Burial of Count Orgaz” is one of the paintings that most have impressed me. The topic is a medieval legend. Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, Earl of Orgaz, was a pious and generous man. Then, when he died in 1323, two important saints (Esteban and Agustin) descended to Earth to bury such a wonderful gentleman. Heavens were opened to see the event and angels were singing melodious songs. Beautiful? Yes, I think so. However, the circumstances two centuries later, when the large masterpiece was painted by el Greco were less “angelical” and more chrematistic.

In his will, the good Earl, had left the order of paying the priest of Santo Tome (a church in Toledo, Spain) two goats, eight chickens, two casks of wine and 800 coins every year. Who had to pay (and this is the funny point), they were the peasants of his lands (!!!!!). Of course, nobody paid…, well, until 1564. That year appeared in the church of Santo Tome a priest who was not willing to be taken for a ride, don Andres Nuñez de Madrid, and after several claims and judgments, he got his money (in fact, a lot, because they had to multiply by 200 years).

Burial Count Orgaz, by el Greco (detail)

Burial Count Orgaz, by el Greco (detail)

Don Andres was happy with his money and this day went to meet the best painter of Toledo: El Greco, a Renaissance painter who had even worked by the king Philip II in el Escorial. The priest was so happy he didn’t close the contract properly and when months later, El Greco reclaimed him 1200 coins of gold by his work, don Andres refused to pay. New claims and judgments (two impartial painters valued the painting by El Greco in 1600 coins of gold)… The priest started to be sad.

In the end, the mean priest paid reluctantly. He did not know that he had purchased one of the best pictures of art history. Stinginess is a great sin. For sure no saint came to his funeral.



Enhanced by Zemanta
View Comments (1)
Isabel del Rio

Managing Editor at Yareah® Magazine. Author of ‘Ariza’ (2008) and ‘The Girls of Oil’ (2010)

More in Arts

Rarely Seen Silkscreen Prints by Jacob Lawrence at the Phillips

Yareah MagazineJanuary 7, 2017
Matt Keegan, Alphabet Soup (Blocked #6), 2016, Monoprint, 66 x 44 in; 167.6 x 111.8 cm

San Francisco Exhibitions. Altman Siegel. In search of Vedaland: September 8 – October 1

Yareah MagazineSeptember 3, 2016
Mailroom Tracking Excellence Award

Tracking Excellence Award For University OF The Arts London

Yareah MagazineSeptember 2, 2016
Francesca Quintano. Heterogeneous Locus. 60x48. Oil on Canvas

Los Angeles Exhibitions. DAC Gallery

Yareah MagazineJune 21, 2016

Sarasota Bay. Ringling International Arts Festival

Yareah MagazineMay 26, 2016

Dandyism and Black Masculinity at The Photographers’ Gallery

Yareah MagazineMay 26, 2016

Yareah Magazine

Art is Everywhere and Up to You.

About Us - Press Kit - Contact Us

YM on Twitter

Top Posts & Pages

Yareah® Magazine is a Registered Trademark in the United States