The Opening of the Fifth Seal (1608/14) by El Greco.
300 years ahead of his time, the revelation of El Greco is that of modernism.
The human body is stretched thin and pale, the angular curves of muscles and bones are a hair away from going too far.
An array of bodies in every position, stand out from the colourful background to which they don’t really belong. Like figures in a collage with their stark black outlines, as if they were cut out from a magazine and put together in a new order.
It’s not about the story told in Revelation. And they are not really bodies, but rather masses with certain colour and certain shape, servants of the composition, each of them a single note of a chord.
The robes of salvation should be white, yet El Greco made them blue and red and yellow and green. And the little angels don’t even have wings. St. John has a body of a giant, long and stretched out like Le Corbusier’s proportion saint.
And then Picasso saw. So he brought them into Avignon and turned them pink. But that’s another story to tell. (The story of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.)