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Saint Francis Kneeling in Meditation

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.


about 1595–about 1600


El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos)
Greek, active in Spain, 1541–1614

About this artwork

Saint Francis appears here surrounded by symbols associated with his sainthood. The book, for example, speaks to his devotional studies, and the skull is a reminder of the inevitability of death. The painting prompts the viewer to meditate upon the saint in the same way that he prays before the sculpture of the crucified Jesus. At least a dozen other versions of this composition by El Greco exist, evidence of Francis’s tremendous popularity in Toledo, Spain, where the artist worked.


On View, Gallery 206


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Domenico Theotokópoulos, called El Greco


Saint Francis Kneeling in Meditation


Spain (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Inscribed lower right: Domenikos Theotocopulos (second line of text illegible)


92 × 74 cm (36 3/16 × 24 1/8 in.); Painted surface: 89.5 × 72 cm (35 1/4 × 28 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Robert A. Waller Memorial Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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