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

The Purification of the Temple

after 1610
Oil on canvas, 106 x 104 cm
Parish Church of San Ginés, Madrid

This version of the subject dates from the last years of El Greco's career. It is assumed that the painting was partly executed by Jorge Manuel. However, it bears El Greco's signature and its quality is very high.

The painting is very close to the version in the National Gallery in London. The most remarkable changes relate to the architectural setting. El Greco shifted the action from the Temple porch to the inner sanctuary. At the centre of the structure supporting the altarpiece is a tomb-like object with an obelisk. On the left there is a relief of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve, and above it a statue of a naked male figure who has been variously identified as Adam, his son Seth or an unidentified idol.

The changes introduced into this version indicate El Greco's continuing reflection of the subject. He continued to add layers of interpretation to the end of his career.