St. Luke

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Mark Descriptions
initials in black oil paint l.l: "D.T."
Dimensions
28-1/4 x 21-5/8 in. 39 x 31-7/8 in. (framed)
Credit line
The Clowes Collection
Accession number
2008.273
Collection
Currently On View

During the last decade of his career, El Greco played a major role in popularizing a type of pictorial ensemble known as the Apostolado, or "Apostle Series." A complete Apostolado normally comprises thirteen pictures, with twelve bust-length paintings of Apostles and one of Christ as Savior.

These three paintings belong to an incomplete set of nine Apostles from the parish church of Almadrones, a small town in the Spanish province of Guadalajara. The church was badly damaged during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and the paintings were removed for safekeeping and eventually sold.

Parish church of Almadrones (Guadalajara), Spain, until 1936 or immediately after{1}; removed to the Fuerte of Guadalajara (former convent of San Francisco) until 1941{2}; at the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, for conservation treatment, 1941-45; restituted to the bishopric of Sigüenza in 1945, sold and legally exported in 1952{3}; (Newhouse Galleries, Inc. New York); Dr. G.H.A. Clowes [1877-1958], Indianapolis, in1952{4}; The Clowes Fund Collection, Indianapolis, 1958-present (C10034).

{1}Eyewitness accounts confirm that prior to the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), this painting, along with others from the same series, was in the parish church of Almadrones (Guadalajara). The American hispanist, Harold Wethey, in a letter to Dr. G.H.A. Clowes wrote: "Dr. F. Layna Serrano...is a native of the province of Guadalajara and knows this whole region. He visited the church at Almadrones before the civil war and saw the apostles when they still hung in the church. He says that the pictures were high on the walls and hard to see. He intended to go back and investigate them further, but the civil war came and he never had another opportunity" (IMA, Clowes Collection Archive).
{2} The Marqués de Lozoya, Director General de Bellas Artes from 1939 to 1951, had the Almadrones paintings taken to the Prado for restoration: "El Sr. Comandante del 'Fuerte de Guadalajara' halló en los desvanes del mismo NUEVE lienzos enrollados los que fueron toscamente restaurados por un sargento aficionado a la pintura, y después se colocaron en un sitio alto y muy poco visible. En una de las visitas que a este centro realizó el Sr. Marqués de Lozoya pudo observar que los aludidos lienzos eran auténticos "Grecos" proponiendo y consiguiendo del señor comandante fueran traidos a los talleres del Prado, para su adecuada restauración como, en efecto, así se hizo. Dichos cuadros representan "San Juan", "Santiago", "San Felipe", "San Simón", "Santo Tomás", "San Bartolomé", "San Pablo", "El Salvador" y "San Andrés" (Declaration of Francisco J. Sánchez Cantón to the Museum's Patronato in 1944). The document is included in the unpublished catalogue of paintings by El Greco in the Prado, made available to the IMA by Leticia Ruiz in November 2005. As Ruiz observed, the word "NUEVE" in capitals means that the series was not complete when it arrived at the Prado. The paintings were received by the Prado on September 10, 1941.: "Museo Nacional del Prado. He recibido del señor Teniente Coronel Primer Jefe de los Talleres y Centro electrotécnico de Ingenieros de Guadalajara NUEVE LIENZOS del Apostolado del GRECO, que entrega a este Museo del Prado según órdenes recibidas y que serán restaurados en el mismo. Madrid a 10 de septiembre de 1941." Expediente de restauración de nueve lienzos del Greco (apostolado) propiedad de la Agrupación de Ingenieros de Guadalajara (10 de septiembre) Año 1941. (Archivo del Museo del Prado).
{3} Five paintings (including this one) were restituted to the bishop of Siguenza in July 14, 1945 and subsequently sold. The four remaining paintings in the series were acquired by the Spanish Government for the Prado Museum (Archivo del Museo del Prado, caja 79). A letter from the director of the Prado, Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor (Madrid, November 21, 1952) states that the paintings were "shipped out of Spain this year." (IMA. Clowes Collection Archive).
{4} Invoice dated November 6, 1952 (IMA, Clowes Collection Archive).
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

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