70 x 100 ready to hang black framed mounted print featuring artwork An Allegory (Fábula) by El Greco from the National Galleries of Scotland Collection. Image size 59 x 78 cm. Printed in high-quality 240gsm smooth matt paper with light, fine-grain surface texture.
The intense light and deep shadow enhance the air of mystery around the boy lighting a candle, watched closely by a monkey and grinning man. The monkey may refer to the artist's skill in aping nature, especially in flickering light effects. However, monkeys often symbolised vice and the grinning man may represent folly. The kindled flame could suggest the arousal of passion. The painting, therefore, may be intended to convey a moralising message against the base and foolish instinct of lust. El Greco had already painted two other versions of the same subject. Here the boy's jacket has darkened from its original green.
Domenikos Theotokopoulos was born in Crete and became known as El Greco ('the Greek') in Spain where he established his reputation as a painter with an original and distinctive style. In Crete he had trained in the Byzantine tradition of icon painting. He then moved to Venice where he developed a freer handling of paint inspired by Titian and Tintoretto. He also spent some years in Rome before leaving for Spain. He settled in the cultural centre of Toledo and produced numerous paintings, ranging from altarpieces to portraits.