(b. 1541, Candia, d. 1614, Toledo)

A Boy Blowing on an Ember to Light a Candle (Soplón)

Oil on canvas, 60,5 x 50,5 cm
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples

The instigator of this painting, representing a boy pursing his fleshy lips to blow on the ember in order to light the black wick of a candle, of which the wax is already melting on account of the heat, may have been Fulvio Orsini, the librarian of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in whose palace El Greco resided between 1570 and 1572. The title 'Soplón' (Blower) was given in Jorge Manuel's inventory.

The subject of a boy blowing on an ember appears frequently as a subsidiary element in subject pictures in mid-sixteenth-century Venetian painting.