El Greco’s Portrait of Cardinal Tavera

Domínikos Theotokópoulos, better known as El Greco, painted Cardinal Tavera’s portrait in 1609 – 65 years after Tavera’s death in 1545. El Greco had moved to Toledo in 1577 in search of the valuable commissions of the Spanish court and nobility, and would himself die in 1614 while engaged in another project for the Hospital de Tavera. The face of Tavera in this portrait is based on the cardinal’s death mask.

The painting was recorded at the Hospital de Tavera using the Lucida 3D Scanner (designed by the artist and engineer Manuel Franquelo with the support of Factum Foundation and Factum Arte) and panoramic photography. The recorded data will remain the property of the Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli. However, the Fundación has given permission for a facsimile to be made for the Spanish Gallery of the Auckland Project in Bishop Auckland, where it will be shown alongside facsimiles of Tavera’s death mask, sepulchre, and another painted portrait.

The portrait will be rematerialised as a facsimile using the elevated printing techniques employed by Canon Production Printing, casting in acrylic-reinforced gesso, and inkjet colour printing from Factum’s unique flatbed printer, which is able to print multiple layers of colour in perfect registration.

The portrait is usually shown next to Tavera's death mask © Factum Foundation

Recording the portrait with the Lucida 3D Scanner © Factum Foundation

The finished facsimile in Factum Foundation's workshop © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

© Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

© Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Installed inside In Ictu Oculi – In the Blink of an Eye © Factum Foundation