The Baptism of Christ by El Greco is an oil on canvas painting created between 1608 and 1614. The painting has a height of 350 cm and a width of 144 cm, and it is currently housed in the Hospital de Tavera in Toledo. The artwork depicts John the Baptist pouring water from a conch over the head of Jesus, who is kneeling.
The painting is divided into two horizontal zones that are connected by a dove, which symbolizes the Holy Ghost. Christ is framed by a red cloak that symbolizes sacrifice and martyrdom. El Greco’s son, Jorge Manuel Theotocópuli, mainly produced the painting. El Greco borrowed the composition of the Heraklion Baptism of Christ from a print by Giovanni Battista d’Angeli. The glass varieties used in the painting are similar to those found in works by Venetian painters contemporary with El Greco.
El Greco executed three paintings for the Colegio de Doña María de Aragón in Madrid, two of which are now in Bucharest and Rome. The painting closely resembles El Greco’s The Baptism of Christ panel of his Modena Triptych from 1568. The Baptism of Christ is a remarkable artwork that captures the essence of baptism with its powerful visual imagery and symbolism.