Saint Peter and Saint Paul is a painting by the Cretan-Spanish artist El Greco. The work was completed between 1590 and 1600. It is currently on display at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, who purchased the work in 1932.
El Greco completed Saint Peter and Saint Paul between 1590 and 1600, while living in Toledo, Spain. Returning to a theme he had previously painted in a work now in the Hermitage, the painting depicts saints Peter and Paul, two of the Apostles of Jesus. According to the guide of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the painting is “enriched by modern use of colour, the fruit of the lessons the artist had learned in Venice.” El Greco created a sense of a halo around the heads of the saints by providing an intense blue opening in the background clouds. The placement of the hands of the saint, crossed without actually touching, symbolizes a possible disagreement between the two. The older Peter, on left, is gesturing towards Paul, suggesting a sign of surrender in the disagreement.
Doménikos Theotokópoulos was born around 1541 in what is modern day Heraklion, Crete. The nickname El Greco is Italian and means “The Greek”, reflecting his citizenship and the time he spent in Italy. In the 1560s, El Greco moved to Venice, where he studied painting under Titian and learned the techniques of Renaissance painting. El Greco moved in 1577 to Toledo, Spain, where he completed many of the masterpieces attributed to him. El Greco died in Toledo in April 1614. Today, El Greco is seen as a major influence for Cubism and Expressionism, as well as artists such as Picasso and Cézanne.