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Conversation: The Life Cycle of an El Greco Masterpiece



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Join Francesca Casadio, Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science, and other art conservators, to discover how El Greco created The Assumption of the Virgin (1577–79) along with other extraordinary paintings. From conception to exhibition, trace the life cycle of El Greco’s masterpiece, including scientific analysis of the materials he used, how conservators care for his work more than 400 years on, and what happens behind the scenes in preparation for an exhibition.

Francesca Casadio
Francesca Casadio is the founder of the scientific research laboratory at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is currently the Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science. In this capacity she leads a team of over thirty specialists who work on objects, paintings, frames, works on paper, photographs, books, other printed materials, textiles, time-based media, and scientific research. Casadio is also the founding member and co-director of the Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS). She received her PhD and MS degrees in chemistry from the University of Milan, Italy, and in 2019 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne University in Paris. Casadio has authored several publications on science and conservation, including edited books and essays in exhibition catalogues. She is passionate about communicating the work of conservators and scientists to the public, students, and the media. In 2006 she was the recipient of the L’Oréal Art and Science of Color Silver Prize.  

Painting of the Virgin Mary ascending to heaven amongst multitude of angels.
The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577–79
Domenico Theotokópoulos, called El Greco

Persons with disabilities who would like to request an accessibility accommodation for an Art Institute program are encouraged to send an email to two weeks in advance of the program. 

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This program is presented with American Sign Language interpretation and mobile Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) captioning. Access the captions here.


Made possible by the Mickie Silverstein Endowed Fund


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