The presentation of two important works from the collection of the Museo del Greco (Toledo), Portrait of Antonio de Covarrubias y Leiva and Portrait of Diego de Covarrubias y Leiva, two oil paintings of the same size (68 x 57 cm) executed by El Greco around 1600, provide the starting point for this new edition of the Guest Work programme, which will be accompanied by various lectures and encounters with experts and artists aimed at strengthening the visiting public's involvement in this programme.
The two portraits by El Greco are displayed in Room 7 of the museum, which is devoted to 16th- and early 17th-century court portraiture and its role as a representation of power through the concept of majesty and dynastic interests. Portraits of Philip II, his sister Juana de Austria and his grandson Felipe Manuel de Saboya create a pictorial sequence initiated by Anthonis Mor at the Spanish Habsburg court and continued by Sánchez Coello and Pantoja de la Cruz, culminating with Velázquez.
Well acquainted with this tradition, Pourbus made use of it in his portrait of Marie de Médicis, Queen of France. These portraits from the museum's permanent collection provide a context for the two by El Greco, which are presented here as outstanding examples of the artist's contribution to secular portraiture of this period. In addition, two further works by the artist from the museum's permanent collection will be on display in Room 8, in this case depictions of religious subjects: Saint Francis in prayer before a Crucifixion (ca.1587-1596) and The Annunciation (ca.1596-1600).