El Greco

El Greco, “Opening of the Fifth Seal (The Vision of Saint John the Divine)”, 1610, Oil on Canvas, 224 x 194 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The painting, unfinished at El Greco’s death and listed in a postmortem inventory, depicts a passage in Revelation (6:9–11) describing the opening of the Fifth Seal and the distribution of white robes to “those who had been slain for the work of God and for the witness they had borne.” It is cut down from a large altarpiece commissioned in 1608 for the church of the hospital of Saint John the Baptist in Toledo. The missing upper part may have shown the Sacrificial Lamb opening the Fifth Seal.

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