The story of the reconstruction of the canvas as used by El Greco for 'the Burial of the Count of Orgaz'

El Greco painted 'The Burial of the Count of Orgaz' on a canvas with a pattern. I did not know that until I was alerted by a Spanish visiter to my atelier in 2015. 
In a project that originated in the 'Erasmus for Young Entrepreneur Programme' we had started to weave painters canvas with a pattern. It was  my curiosity to know why painters canvas is in plain weave, as I thought, and I was convinced that a pattern in the first layer of a painting should be of influence.
I had to go to the deepest caves of the internet after the visitor had left the names of El Greco, Maíno and herself, but found a theses about canvases as used in European Painting in XVI XVII and XVII century. A Spanish document.
When I saw there the weaving draft of the canvas as used by El Greco, I made a little jump: I knew immediately that I could reconstruct that pattern on my hand loom and I also felt that it would have a great impact to do so.
I am trained as an histological-pathological technician and have been connected in the past to research on muscle pathology in mice. A histochemical study that later extended to other disciplines.
Coming back to research was a very important moment while running my own studio for handweaving in the South of Portugal.
I came accross a XVI century German weaving book and later a CIETA publication in which also thread count of warp and weft of the canvas was given. 
The very first question that comes up when seeing and touching the textile is: 'Why did El Greco use this canvas? ' It shows that bringing to life the layer that has been hidden for centuries between the paint and the lining canvases triggers us to find answers...

I include here pictures that guide you through the process of the project about the El Greco canvas reconstruction. Enjoy and please write what have been your thoughts and or comments about it to canvas@labo.pt 
Thank you, Helena Loermans
Lab O @ Atelier for Handwoven Textiles Helena Loermans



weaving draft 
ICCROM publication 



AVL computer aided loom

weaving

we do not know if the textile was originally in white ...

backlight image of the reconstruction of the canvas

'The Burial of the Count of Orgaz' painting by El Greco 1568,
Iglesia de Santo Tome, Toledo

480 cm x 360 cm