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

Saint Peter

Oil on canvas, 209 x 106 cm
Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial

Probably, with the Saint Ildefonso also in the Escorial, this painting was executed for the Chapel of Oballe of the church of San Vicente, Toledo, to be placed to the left and right of the Immaculate Conception, where for some time there have been old copies. The first Pope and the first Bishop of Toledo make a sensible pair. The infinite upward movement and powerful rhythm of this monolithic image express supremely the spiritual meaning of the 'Prince of the Apostles' the 'Rock upon which the Church was built'. This is the final expression of the Saint 'image' and a magnificent example of El Greco's late manner.

The arched top of the painting was reduced, as was that of its companion piece.

St Peter appears a great number of times in El Greco's oeuvre and he is depicted with remarkable consistency. The saint is always shown with white hair and beard, and he often wears his yellow cloak over a blue tunic.