El Greco and Fernando

Greco El, Author Editions Flohic $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-2-908958-03-4
Arrabal ( Guernica and Other Plays ) begins his essay with a quote from Andy Warhol: ``El Greco did what I'm trying to do today--invert the relationship between man and art.'' Arrabal readily adopts inversion as the basis of his examination of El Greco's life and art. Of The Resurrection, he notes: ``A naked Nazarene, upside-down, trades the mystical state of ecstasy for carnal pleasure: the foot of another Nazarene has slipped between his cheeks in the act of . . . `foot-fucking.' '' Six other examples are almost equally provocative, setting the stage for what the reader hopes will be a no-holds-barred bit of art criticism. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is pretty straightforward, a kind of blithe biography told backward, ignoring the paintings almost completely, and informally charting El Greco's course from Crete to Venice to Rome to Toledo. He writes of the painter's time in Toledo: ``As he painted, high above the Tagus, he became fluid, light, as implacable as the breeze, in love with his lover and above all with love.'' Arrabal's text is entertaining if insubstantial, and although given short shift by the author, the paintings are a pleasure to behold. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
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