El Greco (Domenikos Theotokópoulos) (1541 - 1614): A Boy

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokópoulos) (1541 - 1614): A Boy

2/19/2021, 10:53:35 AM
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokópoulos) (1541 - 1614): A Boy Lighting a Candle (Soplón), 1570-72, Oil on canvas, 60,5 x 50,5 cm, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples El Greco's 'Boy Lighting a Candle' shows a boy blowing on an ember. It's an action that, while it lasts, can be perfectly steady and show no change. The passage of the air is invisible. The pursed lips, the glow of the ember, the hold of the hands: all these things can stay as they are for a while. It is one of the great pictorial subjects. With its play between stillness and timing and visibility, between breath and light, it's rich in allegorical possibilities, in thoughts of life and death. At the same time it's based on a simple, natural physical event – the beautiful two-way relationship between a face and an ember. The face blows air upon the ember, causing the ember to shine back upon the face. The boy puffs himself into light. While he breathes, he is there before us. It's painted in the most realistic style El Greco ever used, and it looks like everyday life. It was, in fact, inspired by classical example. The title 'Soplón' (Blower) was given in Jorge Manuel's inventory.

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