National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)
El Greco (painter)
Greek, 1541 - 1614
Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes, 1597/1599
oil on canvas, wooden strip added at bottom
overall: 193.5 x 103 cm (76 3/16 x 40 9/16 in.) framed: 221 x 136.5 x 12.1 cm (87 x 53 3/4 x 4 3/4 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.26
Not on View
From the Tour: El Greco
Object 2 of 8

This painting and Saint Martin and the Beggar were part of one of El Greco's most important commissions. They originally hung opposite each other, flanking the central altar in the Chapel of Saint Joseph in Toledo. The Virgin and Child are framed by angels and a billow of clouds. Below are two female saints. Saint Agnes on the right holds the lamb with which she once appeared after her death to worshipers gathered at her tomb. The saint beside her, standing by a lion on which El Greco has painted his Greek initials, is probably Martina. Her name is the feminine form of that of the chapel's founder, Martín Ramírez. It is also possible, however, that she is Saint Thekla, who appeared to Saint Martin in visions. In the painting's original position high on the south wall of the chapel, the two saints would have seemed to stand directly behind the altar table, ready to intercede for worshipers in the heavenly realm.

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