El Greco Sizzles in Chicago, in Paris, Not So Much

Installation shot of El Greco: Ambition and Defiance, 2020. (Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago)
But it’s El Greco … either way, you can’t go wrong.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE D omenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco (1541–1614), is almost always not only good but exhilarating. Bizarre, twisting saints, roiling night skies, faces flush with piety, and a psychedelic palette . . . It all seems inconceivable, but in the hands of a master painter and designer, he gets his message of Christian faith across to all but the densest. He’s wild enough to be pagan-friendly, too.

El Greco: Ambition and Defiance is the new survey show organized by the Grand Palais in Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago. I saw it at both places, two weeks ago in Chicago before the

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