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

A Prelate

Oil on canvas, 107 x 90 cm
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth

The identity of the sitter was only established in 1988, despite the fact that the portrait must record a prominent figure. He was identified with Francisco de Pisa (c. 1537-1616), Professor of Holy Scripture at Toledo University, the author of a major history of Toledo and a prominent figure in ecclesiastical affairs in the city. The identification rests on the striking resemblance between his features and those of a documented miniature of Francisco de Pisa in a private collection, that was, at one time, ascribed to El Greco himself.

The open book displayed on the table is identified by lettering on its pages as BOSIUS CANONICI, presumably an edition or commentary on the corpus of canon law. The author of the text is probably Francesco Bossi or Bosio (1500/10-1584), who specialized in law. In Rome Bossi was closely associated with Carlo Borromeo, one of the key figures of the Catholic reform.

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