Characters represented

The order of the characters in Heaven refers to the Christian belief that states as follows: whoever has loved the most, may he be more important in the Kingdom of Heaven; whoever has loved the most, may he be closer to God. Thus, Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist can be found within the bright crown released by Jesus Christ; followed by Saint James, patron of Spain, Saint Paul and the rest of apostles. Consequently, it is pointed out the loyalty to the tradition set by the Catholic Church, since the above mentioned persons are the pillars of the church.

In the second row of apostles, two figures stand out: Saint Thomas, patron of the parish church in which the painting is exhibited; and His Majesty Philip II, considered as an example of fidelity and defense of faith. Behind the apostles, there appear saints of God.

Under Saint Peter and Saint John there appear three figures from the Old Testament: King David with his harp symbolizing the Prayer; Noah with his ark symbolizing the Baptism; and Moses with The Tables symbolizing the Law.

Symmetrically, on the right side of the painting three figures can be spotted. They could be identified as Marta, María and Lázaro, who represent faith in resurrection, or rather as the prudent virgins that are waiting for their spouse’s arrival from the Judgment, according to different authors.

In the Earth, El Greco is staring at us quietly, almost hidden among the other attendants to the burial, while his son is pointing at the miracle.

A Franciscan, Dominican and Augustinian monk are also invited to the funeral.

The rest of the characters are amazed or confused about what has just happened. They looked sideways, whisper and talk to each other; there seems to be just one person that has realized the most important issue: Mr. Alonso, the parish priest. He is the only one that looks upwards and notices how the angel is placing Mr. Gonzalo’s soul in Heaven, while his server keeps reading the office for the dead.

 

 

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Characters represented list
 
 

1.- Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, señor de Orgaz.
2.- San Agustín.
3.- San Esteban.
4.- Autorretrato del Greco.
5.- Diego de Covarrubias.
6.- Fraile Agustino.
7.- Fraile Franciscano.
8.- ¿Fraile Dominico o Trinitario?
9.- Jorge Manuel Teotocopuli.
10.- Martirio de San Esteban.
11.- Santa Catalina de Alejandría.
12.- Santiago el Mayor.
13.- San Pablo.
14.- Antonio Covarrubias.
15.- Santo Tomás.
16.- Andrés Núñez Álvarez.
17.- San Sebastián.
18.- Santa Mª Magdalena.
19.- Santos en General.
20.- Felipe II.
21.- ¿San Pablo?
22.- San Juan Bautista.
23.- Jesucristo.
24.- Virgen María.
25.- San Pedro.
26.- David.
27.- Moisés.
28.- Noé.
29.- Alma de Don Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo.