El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek, 15411614)
Oil on canvas (top truncated); 87 1/2 x 76 in. (222.3 x 193 cm); with added strips 88 1/2 x 78 1/2 in. (224.8 x 199.4 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1956 (56.48)
The painting depicts a passage in Revelation (6:911) 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 larger altarpiece painted between 1608 and 1614 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. The broad, open brushwork is characteristic of El Greco's late style. The picture is unfinished and much damaged and abraded.