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

Christ on the Cross

Oil on canvas, 177 x 105 cm
Private collection

El Greco treated this subject of Christ on the Cross several times throughout his career. The present version is one of only three surviving large-scale versions of this composition. In it El Greco has chosen to use the 'Cristo Vivo' iconography, in which the Christ figure is shown alive and without indication of His suffering or wounds. The original source for the figure is almost certainly a drawing by Michelangelo that was commissioned by Vittoria Colonna and is today in the British Museum. He most probably knew this particular design from a print, a notion supported by the reversal of the figure of Christ in the painting from the original drawing.

The present painting exists in numerous autograph and studio versions in both large and reduced format.