Santo Domingo el Antiguo

Completed Project
Toledo, Spain


Founded by Alfonso VI, Santo Domingo el Antiguo de Silos is the oldest monastery in Toledo, dating to 1085. One of the prominent features of the monastic complex is the Church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, designed by Nicolas de Vergara and later modified by Juan de Herrera. The church was built in 1577 and is the burial place of El Greco. The artwork in the church was the first commission for El Greco in the city and contains three of his paintings, including the “Resurrection,” which is housed in the altarpiece that was executed by Monegro. His paintings of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist are located near the altar.

How We Helped

WMF assisted with the conservation of the El Greco paintings in the convent Church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, which had been well preserved and had sustained little damage over the years. The project entailed careful cleaning of the surfaces, careful re-stretching of the canvas to hold the paintings in the proper position, and some treatment to address minor problems. The light conservation treatment revealed details in the paintings that had not been visible before and enhanced the convent’s appeal as a cultural attraction. The cleaning of the paintings provided an opportunity for further investigation of these works, which included an altarpiece attributed to Flemish artist Juan de Borgoña that was executed in 1486. Restoration work was also carried out in the main chapel of the convent, including the large 17th-century altarpiece by Eugenio Cajes.

Why It Matters

The conservation of these paintings, as well as other works in the chapel, has reinforced the convent’s position as an important site of Spanish cultural heritage and a significant cultural attraction. The nuns who reside in the convent have benefited from the increased tourism income, which is helping support their activities. Visitors to Santo Domingo el Antiguo de Silos can now better understand and appreciate the community’s long history and artistic legacy.

Last updated: August 2016.

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