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El Greco,The Holy Family(c.1585)
Oil on canvas 106x87,5 cm
The Hispanic Society of America,New York
It was only after El Greco moved to Spain that he treated the theme of the Madonna and Child in both half-length and full-length format, however, he invariably included St Joseph, in keeping with the new prominence the saint was given in Counter-Reformation theology. The painting of the Hispanic Society of America is one of El Greco's finest paintings and his earliest treatment of the theme. It served as the point of departure for a larger canvas in the Hospital of St John the Baptist in Toledo (Tavera Hospital), in which the composition was enriched by the inclusion of St Anne to the left of the Virgin.