The Gentleman with his hand on his Chest

This magnificent portrait, which has become an icon of world painting, shows an unknown gentleman, probably an aristocrat from Toledo, who is portrayed as the prototype of the Spanish nobleman of the time.

The artist seems to want to draw our attention to the sitter’s hand, with an elegant pose that El Greco used in many of his figures, in which the middle and ring finger are separated from the index and little finger. He has used the fine lace of the cuff to frame and highlight the beauty of the hand. Next to it are two objects: the fine hilt of the sword that denotes the sitter’s status as a nobleman, and which made Toledo craftsman so famous; and an almost invisible gold chain, from which a medallion hangs half-hidden on his chest. The fine lace ruff collar, which was very typical of 16th-century fashion, frames his unperturbed face and his absent gaze.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns