El Greco (Domínikos Theotokópoulos; Heraklion 1541 – Toledo 1614)
Adoration of the Shepherds


oil on canvas

111 x 47 cm

Palazzo Barberini

Inv: 1474

Both the Adoration of the shepherds and the Baptism of Christ relate to an important commission received by El Greco in 1596. This was the production of a monumental altarpiece composed by diverse paintings for the Church of the Incarnation, in the Colegio de Doña Maria de Aragón in Madrid. During the Napoleonic era, the altarpiece was took apart. It is believed that the original work was formed by six majestic canvases, up 3.5 meters high. Five of them are currently displayed at the Museo del Prado and the other one at the Museu de Artà to Bucharest. The recent restoration carried out on several Barberini paintings demonstrated that both of them are authentic. In this regard, they must have been the preparatory sketches for the final commission or copies after the original produced by El Greco himself. Both canvases were acquired by Federico Hermanin, director of the Gallery, from a Sicilian private collection in 1908.