Richard Kagan Lecture

"The Cult of El Greco:  Critics, Collectors, and Connoisseurs"
Friday, February 27, 2015
Lecture: 5:30
Rochambeau House, Music Room


Following centuries of obscurity, the “ discovery” of Domenikos Theotokópoulos, otherwise popularly known as El Greco, began in Paris at the close of the 19th Century. The artist’s fame quickly spread to the United States, where artists, critics, and collectors regarded his idiosyncratic style of painting as a precursor of the latest trends in modern art. While El Greco continued to have his detractors, his popularity soared, approximating what some would label a “cult.”  In this lecture, Prof. Kagan examines the craze for El Greco, and how so many of masterpieces became part of museums and private collections across the United States.  

Richard L. Kagan is Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor Emeritus of History and Academy Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University. A foremost expert on Habsburg Spain and its overseas empire, he has authored groundbreaking studies on multiple aspects of early modern Hispanic culture, ranging from education, law, and the Inquisition to cartography, urbanism, and art history. His most recent books include Urban Images of the Hispanic World, 1493-1750 (Yale University Press, 2000), Spain in America: The Origins of Hispanism in the United States (University of Illinois Press, 2002), and Clio and the Crown: The Politics of History in Medieval and Early Modern Spain (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), Inquisitorial Inquiries: Brief Lives of Jews and Other Heretics (2nd ed., Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011). He is currently completing a book titled The Spanish Craze: America’s Discoveries of the Arts and Cultures of the Hispanic World.