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El Greco

Domenikos Theotokopoulos

el greco

Back in 1951 in a small village called Candia ( today’s Heraklio city), a boy, that later on will become one of most outstanding and mysterious artists of all times, is born. His name is Kiriakos Theotokopoulos, which he will later substitute with the Latin synonym Domenico.

el greco - spoliation

Domenicos Theotokopoulos or El Greco, as he is widly known has been a painter, sculptor, and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. By the time he was born, Crete was part of the Republic of Venice, which he visits at 26. At Venice, the cradle of Renaissance he becomes a student of prominent painters, like Ticiano and Tidoreto. It is also the time that Theotokopoulos starts using artistic nickname, El Greco.In 1950 he moved to Rome, where he executed a seties of works, while we also got in touch with various Spanish nobles. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance.

In 1577 El Greco immigrates to Spain and soon he decides to stay permantly inToledo, where he worked until his death. It is there where he receive several major commissions and produced his best known paintings like

El Greco has influenced a large series of all kinds of artists. From Eugène Delacroix and Édouard Manet to Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso during his Blue Period. From the German expressionist movement to Jackson Pollock El Greco influence can be clearly seen.

Not only painters have admired his work, one should mention that El Greco has inspired artists like Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis.

el greco signature

Greek poet and Nobel Prize winner Odysseas Elytis has written in Diary of an Unseen April:

“As I was climbing the narrow, rain-slicked lane-nearly three hundred years have gone by-I felt myself seized by the hand of a Powerful Friend and indeed I came to see myself lifted on the two enormous wings of Doménicos up to his skies which this time were full of orange trees and water speaking of the homeland.”

El Greco & Crete...

Though living far away from his birthplace, El Greco has never forgotten Crete. This can be seen through his paintings and also from the way he signed his works. El Greco used his name Domenicos Theotokopoulos, written in his mother language to underscore his Greek descent. According to Hortensio Félix Paravicino, a 17th-century Spanish preacher and poet, "Crete gave him life and the painter’s craft, Toledo a better homeland, where through Death he began to achieve eternal life."

el greco the miracle of christ healing the blind el greco-Pieta

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