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Saint Martin and the Beggar

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

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.


about 1597–about 1600


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

About this artwork

This painting is a small replica of an altarpiece for the private family chapel of San José in Toledo, Spain. The production of smaller versions of commissioned altarpieces allowed El Greco to introduce his creations to a wide market. The composition here includes elements that would have resonated with his audience: Saint Martin wears fashionable contemporary armor, and the walls of Toledo are visible in the distant background. Martin was a popular saint during the period, when acts of charity like the gift of his cloak to a beggar were promoted by the Catholic Church as necessary for earning salvation.


On View, Gallery 206


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Domenico Theotokópoulos, called El Greco


Saint Martin and the Beggar


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 Theotokopoulos Kres epoiei [transliterated]


110 × 63 cm (43 5/16 × 24 13/16 in.); Original painted surface: 107.5 × 58 cm (42 5/16 × 22 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey McCormick

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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