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

Apostles Peter and Paul

c. 1592
Oil on canvas, 121,5 x 105 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

El Greco painted pairs of saints from the 1590s. This painting's subject is the reconciliation between the two apostles who had been in disagreement, a fact shown by the joining of the hands, that intertwine without touching.

The intensive colours of the cloaks, whose energy underlines the Baroque contrasts of light and shade, did not prevent El Greco from creating a balanced composition. The delicate painting of the hands and portrait-like faces concentrate the attention on the humanity of Peter and Paul (the latter resembles El Greco), while the freely executed patches of clothing give a sense of the greatness of the apostles' ministry.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 3 minutes):
Guillaume Dufay: Aurea luce, hymn for the feast of Sts Peter and Paul