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European Art before 1900

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The Penitent Saint Peter

Domenikos Theotokopoulos (AKA El Greco; Kryiakos Theotokopoulos), Spanish (born Greece), (1541–April 7, 1614)

Creation date: ca. 1590-1595
Creation place: Spain

Other Information

Type: Oil Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam
Accession Number: 1940.76
State/Province: Toledo
Dimensions: 49 1/4 in. x 42 3/8 in. (125.1 cm x 107.63 cm)
Currently on view


Jacob Hirsch, New York, New York ( - 1940)

José Maria de Zavala, Vitoria, Álava, Spain (1908 - ca. 1926)

Pedro and Antonio Verastegui, Vitoria, Álava, Spain (ca. 1929 - 1929)

Anne R. and Amy Putnam, San Diego, California (1940 - 1940)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (1940 - )

Label Copy

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)
(Spain, born Crete, 1541–1614)
The Penitent Saint Peter
Oil on canvas, ca. 1590–95

One of El Greco’s most enduring devotional images, the Penitent Saint Peter was a subject to which the painter often returned. We see the repentant Saint Peter, distraught at having denied that he knew Christ when questioned on the eve of the Crucifixion. The scene inIn
the background at left shows , Mary Magdalene returning returns from Christ’s tomb: ; having received the news of Christ’s resurrection from an angel, she runs to tell Saint Peter. This subject’s popularity can be related to the religious debates of the time. Saint Peter’s penitence was used by Counter-Reformation Catholics to justify the sacrament of Penance or Confession, which had been challenged by Protestantism.

Last Updated: 5/6/2021


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Masterpieces of Art Art Associates, Inc. , 5/27/1939 - 10/31/1939

Golden Gate International Exposition Golden Gate International Exposition , 5/25/1940 - 9/29/1940

5 year loan to the new Timken Art Gallery , 9/2/1965 - 9/2/1970

Modern Masters of Spanish Painting: Legacy of Spain, XXth Century San Diego Museum of Art , 1/2/1969 - 3/4/1969

Petros Eni—Pietro è Qui Fabbrica de San Pietro in Vaticano , 10/11/2006 - 3/8/2007

Mannerism, Art after Perfection Museo Nacional de San Carlos , 12/5/2013 - 6/1/2014

Art of Devotion The San Diego Museum of Art , 1/28/2016 - 00/00/00

Art and Empire: The Golden Age of Spain The San Diego Museum of Art , 5/18/2019 - 9/2/2019

El Greco: Ambition and Defiance , 3/7/2020 - 9/7/2020


This object has the following bibliographic references:

David Bolton and Tim Falla. Pre-Select Student's Book Oxford University Press. Oxford, United Kingdom, 1998
Page Number: 31, Figure Number: 2

Mr. Martin E. Petersen. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1993
Page Number: 105

Dr. Holly Witchey. San Diego Museum of Art San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1993
Page Number: 112, 113, Figure Number: 113

Julia Gethman Andrews (DUP). A Catalogue of European Paintings, 1300-1870 San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1947
Page Number: 76, 77, 79, 80, Figure Number: 77, 79 (detail), 80 (detail)

The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego Catalogue: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1960
Page Number: 84, 85, Figure Number: 85

Agnes Mongan and Elizabeth Mongan. European Paintings in The Timken Art Gallery: Putnam Foundation. San Diego, California, 1969
Page Number: 78, 79, 125-126, Figure Number: 28

George A. Rodetis. The Journal of Aesthetic Education University of Illinois Press. Champaign, Illinois, Fall 1997
Page Number: 32, 33, Figure Number: 1

Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. La Pintura Española fuera de España Espasa-Calpe, S. A.. Madrid, España, 1958
Page Number: 199, no. 1336

Tiziana Frati. L'opera completa del Greco Rizzoli Editore. Milano, Italia, November 1969
Page Number: 102, no. 64b

José Álvarez Lopera. El Greco: Skira Eidtore S.p.A.. Milan, Italy, 1999
Page Number: 403

Dr. Alfred M. Frankfurter. Masterpieces of Art: The Art News. New York, New York, 1939
Page Number: 12

Masterpieces of Art: The Art News. New York, New York, 1939
Page Number: 76, Figure Number: 76

Stuart Preston. El Greco Beechhurst Press. New York, New York, 1953
Page Number: 36, 39, Figure Number: 19

August Liebmann Mayer. Dominico Theotocopuli, El Greco Franz Hanfstaengl . München, Germany, 1926
Page Number: 35, no. 210a

Guy Hubbard. Arts & Activities Publishers' Development Corp.. San Diego, California, February, 1997
Page Number: 35, Figure Number: 35

Dr. Alfred M. Frankfurter, ed. Art News The Art Foundation, Inc.. New York, New York, November 30, 1940
Page Number: 6, 7, Figure Number: 6

5 Old Masters Acquired by the Fine Arts Society of San Diego, California San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, November 14, 1940
Page Number: El Greco

John D. Morse. Old Master Paintings in North America Abbeville Press Publishers. New York, New York, 1979
Page Number: 154

John D. Morse. Old Masters in America: Rand McNally & Company. New York, New York, 1955
Page Number: 91

Walter Heil. Golden Gate International Exposition, The Recorder Printing & Publishing Co.. San Francisco, California, 1940
Page Number: 12 no. 145, 34, Figure Number: 145

William R. Wilson. The Los Angeles Times Book of California Museums Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated. New York, New York, 1986
Page Number: 261, 262, Figure Number: 214

Jonathan Brown. Bartolomé Estban Murillo (1617–1682): Harry N. Abrams, Inc.. New York, New York, 2002
Page Number: 36, 37, Figure Number: 28

Guy Hubbard. Arts & Activities Arts & Activities. San Diego, California, March 2003
Page Number: 26-27, 28, Figure Number: 26-27

William Wyatt Davenport. Art Treasures in the West Lane Magazine & Book Company. Menlo Park, California, 1966
Page Number: 129, Figure Number: 129

Mr. Steven Kern. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 111, Figure Number: 111

Lester D. Longman. Parnassus College Art Association. New York, New York, January 1941
Page Number: 37, Figure Number: 37

Mr. Charles Z. Offin, ed. Pictures on Exhibit Pictures Publishing Co.. New York, New York, January 1941
Page Number: 10, 11, Figure Number: 11

Mr. George Henry McCall. Catalogue of the European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300–1800 Art Associates, Inc.. New York, New York, 1939
Page Number: 79 no. 161

Dott.ssa Maria Cristina Carlo-Stella. Petros Eni—Pietro è Qui: Edindustria S.r.l.. Roma, Italia, 2006
Page Number: 217-219, Figure Number: V.10 (and detail)

Mr. Daniel M. Unger. Tradition, Heterodoxy and Religious Culture: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press. Beer-Sheva, Israel, 2007
Page Number: 376, 378, Figure Number: 3

Marco Antonio Silva Barón. Manierismo: El Arte Después de la Perfección Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes: Museum Nacional de San Carlos. Mexico, 2014
Page Number: 38-39, Figure Number: 14


Signature, Lower left:

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