Huge donation secures El Greco

The Cretan town of Iraklion has managed to raise the money for a newly discovered painting by the island’s most famous artist following a donation by one of Greece’s richest men, municipal officials said yesterday. Shipping magnate Theodoros Angelopoulos, who is married to Cretan-born Athens 2004 chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, contributed 700,000 euros to Iraklion Municipality’s fund-raising campaign for the paperback-sized work by Domenicus Theotokopoulos, or El Greco. The municipality placed the winning bid for «The Baptism of Christ» at a Christie’s auction in London on December 8, pledging 789,250 pounds (1.15 million euros) on the basis of a letter of guarantee. The buyer was given two weeks to pay up. In a concerted effort, Iraklion – where El Greco was born in 1541 – raised some 400,000 euros. The oil painting, dating to 1567-70, will be the second El Greco work to be shown on Crete. The other, «View of Mt Sinai,» was also bought at auction. «The Baptism of Christ» was found during a routine valuation in Spain last year.