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Art Orientation



The San Diego museum shows an incredible interests and varieties of the various aspects in the region. The san Diego museums is composed of ninety different museums which shows various fine arts and a range of collections from the classics to the modern, from transportation to fine arts and from natural history to science. A broad range of collection mainly is influenced from the Spanish art which are mainly the fine art. The San Diego Museum according to the official website of Balboa Park is the oldest museum in the whole of the United States (Balboa Park, 2010). The collections of this museum are by nature encyclopedic which pieces are dating back from the 5,000 B.C to the 2001 A.D. The Spanish works which mainly strengthen the collections are mainly from the works of Cotán, Murillo, El Greco and Ribera. This paper will compare the work written by Bartholomew Esteban Murillo (December 31, 1617 (baptized) – April 3, 1682) and El Greco (1541–1614).


El Greco (1541–1614)

El Greco was a well known architect, sculptor and painter. He became well known and actively participated during the Spanish Renaissance period. His work shows a unique orientation which makes him not to be classified in any specific school of thought. His style is basically expressionistic and dramatic and was as a result seen with great puzzlement among the artist who came later but has come to be appreciated especially during the 20th century.


His artistic styles is characterized by the use of fantastic and elongated figures with phantasmagorical pigmentation which are interlinked to the traditions of the Byzantine and those from the Western civilization (Lambraki-Plaka, pp 60). Many of his works were not appreciated based on the principles they portray because they were against this style of the early baroque which started during the beginning of the 17th century which influenced the mannerism of the 16th century. But by the late 17th and during the 18th century El Greco's works and skills began to be praised by Spanish commentators but criticized his complex iconography and antinaturalistic style. His works were described with words such as madness, odd, strange, queer, ridiculous and contemptible. El Greco’s works was later reexamined a new by the Romantic sentiments .this made the artist to be considered by Théophile Gautier, a French writer as the precursor of the European Romantic movement based on El Greco’s desire to be extreme and strange. In Paris, El Greco was seen with admiration as the ideal hero of romanticism.


Generally El Greco works is seen to portray mysticism which portrays the Spanish soul as a great painter of the past which his works act as a fore-shadow of the modernity to come. This is because he reconstructed the inner mystic aspect which had not been discovered by the artists of his time. This discovery of the inner mystic aspect shows his archetypal genius which is why people could not understand his work and simply called him a mad man.


Another characteristic with his drawing is that most of the objects and human beings have elongated body structure. The guide at the San Diego measure indicates that this is mainly because of the sight problem which the painter was suffering from. The progressive strabismus and astigmatism condition he could be suffering from made him to see things as being longer than the normal size. This subject is however not clear and is still under debate. Other scholars have seen El Greco’s elongated drawings as being part of his stylistic style of visual and not a symptom of visual problem (Antis, p 208).


Another characteristic which defines El Greco’s work is the aspect of latent homosexuality which according to an English writer Somerset Maugham could define the sexual preference of the artist. El Greco’s work in terms of colors and expressive have influenced other artists like Édouard Manet and Eugène Delacroix . This is because the works of the painter is characterized by morphological structural code. This is an aspect which was discovered by a cubism forerunner, Paul Cézanne, whose work also shows a common element in their morphology such as unworked background, the human body being distorted, similarity in the use of reddishness and rendering of space. HIS painting evinces various executions which may suggest that many a people participated in the drawing.

His drawing also shows that he never lost touch with his Greek origins he maintained close relationship with the countrymen from Greece and was close friend to the Hellenist Antonio de Coavarubia. His work also has the mythological composition with a rich painting representing the rich tradition of the Greeks. This composition measures to the work of Virgil’s Aeneid and the rediscovery of the Hellenists structure in Rome in 1506 .most of the figures in the right edge were not completed especially because the work does not show the 1950’s restoration.


The Opening of The Fifth Seal marked a major step among the work of the early cubist of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, and Pablo Picasso, which show the paintings expressionistic angularity this event was carried out in a studio Paris to examine El Greco's and the work of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was Baroque painter who is well known for his religious works. His paints center on the daily realities of day to day living because unlike El Greco of the Spanish renaissance period he came during age of realism . his images of children and women are real with clear portrays of street urchins, flower girls and beggars who all constitute appeal and has extensive record of the modern day everyday life. His pictures portray his wife Beatriz Cabrera and their daughter while others are for Madonna ,Virgin of the Rosary and of a child, with Murillo, his paintings shows fine improvement as compared to El Greco’s work with flowing pencil drawing. His first represented Italy which is lovely and sublime and shows the richness of art and nature. Also unlike EL Greco’s works, Murillo works portrays a much clearer background representing the sea, the mountains and the storm. He indeed shows use his genius in portraying the truth but not in a much m polished way as seen in modern day artist whose work have a luster.


Murillo works were initially made of cheap rough canvas which were shipped by traders to America and sold in country fairs . His paintings were appealing to the members of the public because they revealed the talent of an upcoming artist. The dating f his paintings give a rage of years and not just the date of a particular painting. For example he dates a whole series of his work to be 1645-46.


Some of his work shows an inspiration from other artists like Rivera seen in his work the Cuisine of Angels (Miracle of St. Diego de Alcada) while Death of St. Clara can be said to be influenced by Va Dyck and St. Diego Giving Charity by Velazquez .


Murillo work portrays the soft forms and warm colors which are the aspects which lack in El Greco’s which did not show fine finishing and were basically painted reddish. The style off painting in Mullliro shows a change which is mainly attributed to his visiting of Madrid in the late 1640s where he studied the works of Rubens, Titian and Van Dyck who dealt with the creation of royal collections in Madrid. The artists painted a lot of Madonna’s between 1647 and1654 which were small in size to act as home canvases. These include the Madonna and the child, and Madonna of the Rosary. His religious paintings which became widely used include The Little Fruit Seller. (c.1670-1675), The Beggar Boy (1650), and Grape and Melon Eaters. (c.1650). these paintings are seen to be sentimental.

These paintings greatly differ fro m El Greco’s work which   is considered to be mystical. Murillo’s works gave a new perception of looking at life which since his work beamed public, Madonna’s and children became common in the nation of Spain. This has made been to be considered as the first artist from Spain has become widely famous in Europe. he got involved in various social activities in Seville such as coming up with the Academy of Fine Art in this region which he was appointed as the president. He also devoted his later part of the years after the death of his wife in 1664 in paintings mainly the religious works at Capuchins convent. Some of his well known religious works include the Capuchins (1676), Caridad Hospital (1670-74), he Augustinians (1680), of the Venerable Sacerdotes (1678), and Santa Maria la Blanca (1665) (Suzanne, Stratton-Pruitt. Abrams, 2002).


As compared to El Greco’s works which were stationary, we seen Murillo’s painting going through a process of transgression which the later one seem to be more real than the earlier ones and to also reach the true essence of the heart ( O’Neil , p 253). His work demonstrates the spiritual aspects which lack in El Greco’s work. Such aspects include piety and inspiration and also summarized the stigmatization in the society which is associated with vulgarity. He manages to portray these characteristics which show his artistic talent of using his pencil preciseness and also as an artist who never looses touch with reality and nature. The lack of realism is what made El Greco’s work.



By looking at the works of El Greco and Mullliro we get to learn of the different perspectives they have in life and also the differences and similarities in their works out of the different periods they existed in. they are the painters who have been influenced by both the cultural and religious aspects but differ n the sense of the representation of realism verses mysticism. trip to the San Diego Museum has made me thoroughly research the various aspects which define the works of the two Spanish   painters.




Lambraki-Plaka, M El Greco-The Greek, 60

Bartolome Esteban Murillo 1617 to 1682: Paintings from American Collections by Suzanne L. Stratton-Pruitt. Harry N Abrams, 2002.

Balboa Park. (2010) The San Diego Museum of Art. Retrieved from

On April 23, 2011

S. Anstis, Was El Greco Astigmatic, 208

O’ Neil(2009)A dictionary of Spanish painters: comprehending that part of their biography immediately connected with the arts, from the fourteenth century to the eighteenth, Volume 1Painters, Spanish

R.M. Helm, The Neoplatonic Tradition in the Art of El Greco, 93-94


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