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High atop a hill of granite surrounded by the gorge and river Tagus sits the ancient and formidable gothic Cathedral and Moorish palace Alcazar of Toledo Spain Toledos skyline has changed little since El Greco immortalized Spains religious centre in 1597-9Cardillac 28 El Grecos natural talents his schooling and the flare of his adopted Spain combined to produce an artistic genius El Grecos ability to convey manneristic images that were so original in conception and color that the detail gives a miraculous conception of cohesion to the whole workWethey 61 When studying this canvas however one must examine the passionate moonlit sky the artistic license El Greco took in the placement of the citys salient landmarks and what these liberties connote within the context of his timeBrown 244View of Toledo is one of the earliest landscapes in Western Art in addition it is El Grecos only true landscape and the first in Spanish Art Legendre 13 It is a romantic yet stark dramatic view of his beloved city Toledo was the centre of the secular and ecclesiastical Spanish world El Greco was a deeply pious man and formed an instant affection for the cityjoslynorg Of El Grecos two surviving landscapes View of Toledo is essentially as mystical in composition as his religious canvases Wethey 63 The painting seems to anticipate the impressionist movement 250 years away Historically the striking use of such rich tones of violet azure and emerald were dramatically different from the realist conception of nature In fact one could argue that El Greco mimicked the almost psychedelic hues from Michelangelos Sistine ChapelWeb Museum Today these bold color schemes lose much of their impact however historically they were a watershed in paintingActon 82 The idea behind this landscape of Toledo was to announce the citys greatness The painting was intended to propagate the cities place among other great Spanish Cities The painting itself is not a true topographical representation of ToledoWethey 64
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