Fray Hortensio Félix Paravicino

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek (active in Spain), 1541–1614)


Overall: 112.1 x 86.1cm (44 1/8 x 33 7/8in.) Framed: 152.4 x 125.1 cm (60 x 49 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250)





El Greco was born on Crete and trained in Italy before emigrating in his thirties to Spain. Best known for his intense and spiritual religious paintings, El Greco was also a perceptive and powerful portraitist. Paravicino, a close friend of the artist, was an important theologian, orator, and poet. Limiting the colors almost entirely to the black and white of the friar’s habit, El Greco created a subtle and compelling image that emphasizes psychological rather than physical presence. The work was purchased in 1904 on the recommendation of John Singer Sargent, another great portraitist and an admirer of Spanish art.


Center right: domenikos theotokopoulos / e'poiei (in Greek characters)


By 1724, Duque de Arcos, Madrid [see note 1]. By 1786, Convent of San Hermenegildo, Madrid (?) [see note 2]. Until 1904, Javier de Muguiro, Madrid; 1904, sold by Muguiro to the MFA for $17,166. (Accession Date: May 1, 1904)

[1] According to notes in the MFA curatorial file, Antonio Palomino recorded the painting there in 1724; see his "El Parnaso Español" vol. 3 (1724), p. 287.

[2] According to notes in the MFA curatorial file, this painting was listed in the inventory of the convent in 1786.

Credit Line

Isaac Sweetser Fund