A painting by famous Spanish mannerist El Greco, the Adoration of the Shepherds, will be exhibited in the Moravian city of Olomouc starting next week. The Olomouc Museum of Arts has acquired El Greco's masterpiece on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It will go on display on June 2 to mark the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Archdiocese Museum of Arts. I spoke to Miroslav Kindl, the head of the museum, and asked him to tell me more about the loan:
“The painting came to Olomouc as a reciprocal loan, because in February 2016, the Archbishopric of Olomouc and the administrator of their collection, the Olomouc Museum of Art, lent the Metropolitan Museum of Art a painting by Titian ‘Apollo and Marsyas’.
“We were discussing with the MET the possibility of a reciprocal loan and after some three months of negotiations we asked them for El Greco’s painting Adoration of the Shepherds, and they agreed. So last week, we were happy to welcome the painting to Olomouc and it will be presented to the public on June 2.”
Why have you chosen this particular painting?
“Well, it has something in common with Titian, because El Greco was Titian’s pupil. The painting comes from El Greco’s late period and the painting Apollo and Marsyas, which is currently on display in New York, also comes from Titian’s late period. So the paintings have something in common. And it is of course a very exquisite painting.”
So can you tell me more about it? When was it made and how valuable is it?
“It was painted between the years 1605 and 1610, so we can say that it comes from the late period of El Greco’s work. It is one of the many compositions of the adoration of shepherds, which was very common in Spain in those days. The painting was made in Toledo, because that’s where El Greco lived from 1578 until his death.
Of course the painting is very valuable. I cannot tell you the insurance value of the picture, but its value reaches millions of US dollars and hundreds of millions on Czech crowns.”
“Yes, of course. The painting is under 24-hour security surveillance as well as under electronic security.”
Are you planning any future cooperation with the Metropolitan Museum of Art?
“Yes, of course we would like to. We take the reciprocal loan as the first step of a future cooperation, because there are many valuable paintings in the collections of the Olomouc Archbishopric, such as Titian, Veronese or Van Dyck. So in the future we would like to present to the public in Olomouc and Kroměříž paintings from the collections of world-wide known institutions around the world based on reciprocal loans."
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