A Saintly Portrait of Anguish and Atonement: El Greco’s "Tears of St. Peter"

The artist depicts St. Peter as resoundingly human, despite his status as one of the 12 apostles and a commanding figure in Catholic Theology. With an eye for realism, El Greco carefully details the musculature of St. Peter’s arms, his striking white hair, and expressive, tear-filled eyes. St. Peter seeks forgiveness after denying his faith in Christ, and we see his hands clenched in prayer and eyes cast to heaven above. Completed in the late 16th century, The Tears of St. Peter immortalizes El Greco’s genius and serves as a reminder to all Christians that redemption is always achievable.

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