SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS – Saint Peter in Tears – El Greco


Saint Peter in Tears
El Greco
C 1587 – 96
El Greco Museum, Spain

The painting pictures Peter’s pain-filled remorse. Against a stone stands the contrite apostle garbed in yellow and blue. His frail demeanour yearns for forgiveness. His tear-filled eyes are raised to heaven while his muscular hands are clasped in prayer and repentance. In the left background, we see yet another penitent saint. Mary Magdalene rushes to announce the angel’s message of the Resurrection of Christ. True to his style, El Greco elongates his figures. Their flame-like appearance defies gravity and transcends the viewer beyond terrestrial space. On the night of denial, Peter’s fear of death led to betrayal, and betrayal to guilt. His guilt could have caused self-destruction, but providentially the cock crowed. At that moment, Jesus turned and looked at Peter with pure love, and love provoked understanding and banished all fear.

– Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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