El Greco’s portrait of Cardinal Fernando Niño de Guevara is a striking example of Mannerist painting. Completed around 1600, the work features exaggerated forms and foreshortening, as well as bold colors that create a dramatic effect. El Greco’s study of Byzantine Christian art and influence from Venetian painting are evident in this work, as is his exposure to Mannerism and Spanish art.
The portrait depicts Cardinal Niño de Guevara with St. Francis, who holds a skull as a symbol of mortality. The cardinal was an important figure in the Spanish Church, serving as Inquisitor General and Archbishop of Seville, among other positions. El Greco also painted other religious figures, such as Saint Jerome and Saint Francis of Assisi.
The painting is now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It represents an important piece in El Greco’s oeuvre and a prime example of the artist’s distinctive style. Visitors can appreciate the intricate detailing in this work while also gaining insight into the religious context that informed much of El Greco’s artistry.