McNay’s El Greco Re-Authenticated, Re-Framed

by Bill Davenport January 12, 2012

Along with the modern art she loved, Marion Koogler McNay bought and El Greco Head of Christ, a lonely Renaissance masterwork, possibly emulating a similar oddball El Greco in Washington D.C. ‘s Phillips Collection. At least she thought it was an El Greco, until later scholarship plastered over the luminous visage with doubt: perhaps it was just a copy or a studio work, and not by the hand of the master, after all. That is, until efforts by the museum’s director  paid off: a thorough cleaning and subsequent re-examination of the the piece by The Prado’s Leticia Ruiz Gómez, the  world’s top el Grecologist, pronounced the painting to be “largely by El Greco’s hand,” after making a side trip to San Antonio when she was in Texas as part of the Prado-Meadows Museum exchange last year.

The McNay has re-framed the re-framed Head of Christ, and is proudly displaying it in the exhibition An El Greco Rediscovered for an extended period.

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