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

St John the Evangelist

c. 1577
Black chalk with traces of white, on yellowish paper, 255 x 155 mm
Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

The drawing is a study for St John the Evangelist, one of the six canvases that El Greco painted for the altarpiece on the High altar of Santo Domingo el Antiguo in Toledo

The drawing, now considerably faded, served a practical purpose. The squaring of the sheet indicates that it was used to transfer the design on to the full-scale canvas. In many respects the painting follows the drawing very closely: the arrangements of the hands, feet and draperies are virtually identical.