A small-scale painting of Jesus Christ wearing the crown of thorns and carrying the cross has been authenticated as a work by the Renaissance painter El Greco. According to a report by the Spanish newspaper El País, the work, which is owned by a private collector, was attributed to El Greco after it was studied at the Center d’Art d’Època Moderna (CAEM) at the University of Lleida in Spain.
Ximo Company, professor of art history and director of CAEM, worked with the late Carmen Garrido, who founded and directed the Prado Museum’s Technical Documentation Cabinet, and the researcher Mariona Navarro on the attribution. “It has been more than two years of exciting work, studies and analysis,” Company told El País. “For us it is great news and also a tribute to Carmen, who passed away suddenly on December 8.”
CAEM’s research affirms that the work was made by El Greco himself, rather than his workshop or students. Some of the team’s analysis involved comparing the painting with works held in the collections of the El Greco Museum in Toledo and the Prado in Madrid.
Company believes the work may have been unknown up until now because the artist kept it stored in his workshop and did not show it widely during his lifetime. Rather, Company suggests, the piece could have served as a model or guide for other similar paintings.
“However, due to the refined finish of this exquisite work, in addition to its small size, it could also be a work conceived for a private oratory of a noble or clergyman,” he said.