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European Art before 1900

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The Adoration of the Shepherds

Domenikos Theotokopoulos (AKA El Greco; Kryiakos Theotokopoulos), Spanish (born Greece), (1541–April 7, 1614)

Creation date: ca. 1576-1577
Creation place: Spain

Other Information

Type: Oil Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on copper
Credit Line: Museum purchase and gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, by exchange
Accession Number: 1990.104
State/Province: Toledo
Dimensions: 9 1/2 in. x 7 3/4 in. (24.13 cm x 19.69 cm)
Currently on view


Zacharie Astruc, Paris, France ( - April 1878)

Sedelmeir Gallery, Paris, France ( - 1892)

Piero Corsini, Inc., New York, New York (1986 - December 1, 1990)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (December 1, 1990 - )

Label Copy

Born in Crete, El Greco travelled to Italy in 1567 and spent the formative years of his career in Venice and Rome. In Venice, he absorbed the influences of Titian and Tintoretto, in particular their open, painterly brushwork. In Rome, he would have been surrounded by the elongated bodies of later Mannerist painting. Both influences are evident here, in an early painting that nonetheless hints at the visionary style that the artist would develop further after settling in Spain. Probably executed during El Greco’s Italian sojourn, this small painting’s jewel-like tones result partly from the use of a copper support.
Last Updated: 2/1/2018


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Important Old Master Paintings: Discoveries ... In una Nuova Luce Piero Corsini, Inc. , 4/20/1988 - 5/20/1988

El Greco's Italian Period and Influences in his Work University of Crete , 9/17/1995 - 12/31/1995

Mannerism, Art after Perfection Museo Nacional de San Carlos , 12/5/2013 - 6/1/2014

Art of Devotion The San Diego Museum of Art , 1/28/2016 - 00/00/00

Art and Empire: The Golden Age of Spain The San Diego Museum of Art , 5/18/2019 - 9/2/2019

El Greco: Ambition and Defiance , 3/7/2020 - 9/7/2020


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Julie Dunn, ed. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1993
Page Number: 136, Figure Number: 136

Terisio Pignatti. O ∏kpeko: Ayhna. Athens, Greece, 1995
Page Number: 384-387, Figure Number: 51, 51 (detail)

Terisio Pignatti. O ∏kpeko: Ayhna. Athens, Greece, 1995
Page Number: 546-547, Figure Number: 51

Robert Barry Simon. Important Old Master Paintings: Piero Corsini, Inc.. New York, New York, April 20, 1988-May 20, 1988
Page Number: 67-72, Figure Number: 12

William B. Jordan. Copper as Canvas: Oxford University Press. New York, New York, 1998
Page Number: 197, 199 note 3

Mr. Steven Kern. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 110, Figure Number: 110

Nicos Hadjinicolaou. The Origins of El Greco Icon Painting in Venetian Crete Alexander s. Onassis Public event foundation. New York, 2009
Page Number: 34, Figure Number: 5

Marco Antonio Silva Barón. Manierismo: El Arte Después de la Perfección Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes: Museum Nacional de San Carlos. Mexico, 2014
Page Number: 48-49, Figure Number: 13

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