Collection: St. Louis, King of France

ARTIST: Museum Religious Art Classics


Artist: El Greco – c. 1616 – 1675

Saint Louis (1214-1270), the king of France, wears a fleur-de-lis crown and damascene armor that evokes his role in the Crusades. He holds other attributes of royal power in his hands: the hand of justice and a fleur-de-lis scepter. El Greco gave him an elongated silhouette, long hands, and an emaciated face. He has no halo and is not lost in contemplation, but intensely gazes at the viewer with a grave, melancholy expression on his face. Without that expression and the orange drapery, this work would look more like a portrait than the depiction of a saint.

The charming page next to him holds his helmet, and a column set on a high pedestal fills the right-hand side of the background. On the left, a recent restoration has revealed a stormy sky and a half-erased landscape: certainly, a view of Toledo, with the Alcazar and the cathedral spire.

His feast day is August 25.