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Acta Theologica

On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Print version ISSN 1015-8758


MARE, Estelle Alma. El Greco's representation of mystical ecstasy. Acta theol. [online]. 2008, vol.28, suppl.11, pp.108-127. ISSN 2309-9089.

This article deals with one of El Greco's most original inventions, namely the gesture expressing mystical ecstasy in angelic and human figures. It is introduced with a brief explanation of figural representation in Renaissance painting which was achieved by applying the premises of rhetoric in a visual way, that is by the means of the expressive gestures of figures. In El Greco's later paintings, which were influenced by Neo-Platonic spiritual ideals, not only the figures of the angels - who are links between heaven and earth - embody spiritual ecstasy, but also human aspirants are portrayed as losing themselves in an ecstatic experience. These figures, merging themselves in a divine vision, are depicted with distinctive vertical forms, gesturing heavenwards in a specific way. The ecstatically gesturing figures are selected from El Greco's most distinctive paintings.

Keywords : El Greco; Mystical Ecstasy; Neo-Platonism; Art and spirituality.

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