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

An Allegory with a Boy Lighting a Candle in the Company of an Ape and a Fool (Fábula)

Oil on canvas, 67,3 x 88,6 cm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

The central figure is closely based on El Greco's earlier painting of a Boy Blowing on an Ember in Naples but the scene has been enlarged to include another male figure, wearing a yellow jacket and red cap, and a, who emerges from the darkness on the left to look over the boy's shoulder. The composition, known in two other autograph versions (one earlier of similar size in private collection from around 1578, and another smaller and later in the Prado from around 1600), has usually been interpreted as an allegory with some sort of moralising intent; it is unlikely that it was conceived simply as a genre scene. It bears the traditional title 'Fábula', meaning fable or story.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.