Claudio Coello


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(b Madrid, 2 Mar. 1642; d Madrid, 20 Apr. 1693).

Spanish painter, the last important master of the Madrid School of the 17th century. He was primarily a religious painter, but he also produced portraits. His masterpiece, Charles II Adoring the Host (1685–90), a huge canvas in the sacristy of the Escorial, combines a mystical religious subject with realistic portraiture and is an outstanding example of Baroque illusionism, mirroring the architecture of the building in which it hangs. He had other noteworthy successes, particularly in work he carried out for Toledo Cathedral, but he died a disappointed man because he was passed over in favour of the Italian Luca Giordano for the commission to carry out a vast programme of decoration at the Escorial. Coello had travelled to Italy as a young man and also studied the work of Titian in the royal collection, and his skill as a colourist and painterly brushwork reflect the influence of the great Venetian masters.

Subjects: Art.

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