El Greco (1541-1614)
The representation of St. Peter acknowledging his guilt and imploring forgiveness for denying Christ three times was used by the reformers of the Catholic Church to encourage personal repentance, the need for forgiveness and, consequently, the practice of the sacrament of penance.
This iconographic theme was very frequent in the last decades of the 16th century, but El Greco was the first to show St. Peter isolated, half-length and eyes flooded with tears, close to the believer to encourage him to follow the path indicated with his look.
It is one of the most widespread compositions of El Greco, of which there are several copies. It is signed by El Greco at shoulder height of San Pedro. It shows very characteristic elements of the painter's style: loose and vigorous brushstroke; pure colors, bright and very vivid; elongated figure; dematerialized hands and face, with strong contrasts of light and shadow that give the figure a certain drama.
The subject of the tears of Saint Peter will be used by theologians and moralists of the Counter-Reformation as an element of approach to the faithful, bringing the weaknesses of the saint closer to mortal man, showing that even Saint Peter can commit faults, and be later forgiven.
It is a piece destined to private oratories, to private clients within the framework of the "picture of devotion" enhancing the emotional approach between the faithful and the image.Salto de línea