El Greco 1541 – 1614

Peter and Paul

oil on canvas (116 × 92 cm) — c. 1590 Museum Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

El Greco biography

This work is linked to Galatians 2:11

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Tags: Peter | Paul

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Peter and Paul meet in the city of Antioch. On the left: St. Peter. On the right: St. Paul, holding his traditional attribute, a sword. Hardly visible is the set of keys that Peter is holding in his left hand.

Their crossed hands indicate that they are arguing with each other. Paul writes about the dispute in his letter to the Galatians. The two apostles disagreed about whether non-Jewish Christians should abide to the laws of Moses.

El Greco made two more, almost identical, paintings of the two apostles. One was made in 1587-92 and is currently in the Hermitage museum; the other is from 1605-08 and may be found in the Stockholm Nationalmuseum.

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