Styles

In this section you can search all our contents throughout the different stages in the history of art in Spain, to find styles such as Baroque, Gothic, Mudejar and many, many more.

Picasso. 'Guernica' Modernism and Avant-garde movements The turn of the century brought new winds of modernity. The aesthetic sensibility of the time was marked by a different, freer attitude towards art and life.

Topics

In this section you can search among all our contents by topic to find the different resources available in Spain, such as museums, routes, destinations, monuments and many, many more.

Audience

This section provides access to all the contents in a personalised way, according to your own particular interests and socio-demographic profile.

The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest

  • ‘The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest’ © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

    ‘The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest’ © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

     
  

Category

Painting

Date

Around 1580

Artist

El Greco

Cultural background

Spanish School

Original title

El caballero de la mano en el pecho
Prado Museum
Madrid
Madrid
Madrid

The nobleman with his hand on his chest

This masterpiece of the Spanish Renaissance is one of El Greco’s best known works. It is remarkable for its expressive gaze and the naturalness of the gesture of the hand.

It was painted in the early years of the artist’s stay in Toledo, and repays a closer analysis as it has several key features of the artist’s style. These include the exaggerated anatomical disproportions, the stylised figure, and the depth of the sitter's gaze.

It perfectly illustrates the sober style of dress in Spain at the time. There are a range of theories as to the meaning of the gesture. It could symbolise a state of mind, such as repentance or a vow.

Today it is thought to be a portrait of Juan de Silva y Ribera, the head notary of Toledo. However there have been various hypotheses regarding the sitter’s identity, including Cervantes or a self-portrait of the artist.

The work comes from the estate of the Duke of Arco in El Pardo (Madrid)
 

Details of the work

Origin
Royal Collection

Object
Painting

Dimensions
82 cm x 66 cm

Technique
Oil

Material
Canvas

  

Find tourist information in the surroundings

spain is culture