The tears of St. Peter (1603-1607) by El Greco

The tears of St. Peter - El Greco - 1603-1607

Artwork Information

TitleThe tears of St. Peter
ArtistEl Greco
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions102 x 84 cm
Current LocationHospital de San Juan Bautista de Afuera, Toledo

About The tears of St. Peter

El Greco’s The Tears of St. Peter is a painting that depicts the apostle Peter in half-length against a dark mountainside. Peter is recognizable from the Keys of Heaven and his characteristic white hair and beard; he is depicted in a golden robe over a blue or green tunic. The painting portrays Peter in tearful repentance, raising his tear-filled eyes to Heaven with his hands joined in prayer, as he begs for divine forgiveness for his guilt in denying Christ during the Passion.

El Greco painted at least six different autograph variants of the painting throughout his career in Spain. The theme was popular in late-sixteenth and seventeenth-century religious poetry and music, but El Greco’s Tears of St. Peter is considered one of his most successful depictions of the subject. The painting was designed for private oratories and private clients within the context of “religious devotion painting” to stimulate emotional closeness with religious figures.

One interesting fact about El Greco’s Tears of St. Peter is that it fits into a larger artistic trend called Catholic Counter-Reformation art, which sought to use art as propaganda to win back followers who had been lost to Protestantism. In this regard, El Greco’s poignant depiction of Peter’s tears symbolizes the importance of repentance and redemption within Catholic doctrine.

In summary, El Greco’s The Tears of St. Peter portrays an emotional moment from Christian history using vivid colors and powerful imagery that inspires faith within its viewership even today many years after it was crafted during 1603-07 timeframe . It remains one among multiple variants he produced on this popular theme – being well-known for its representations inspiring emotional closeness with beloved religious icons while fittingly serving Baroque period aesthetics used by Counter-Reformation movement artists’ wider repertoire aimed at winning followers back into their fold through evocative visual imagery grounded on theological teachings surrounding original sin and human salvation dynamics within catholic traditions

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