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Wonderful paintings by El Greco

Portrait of an elderly man. Presumably the self-portrait of El Greco, 1600

Portrait of an elderly man. Presumably the self-portrait of El Greco, 1600


El Greco was a Greek painter who settled in Spain. He evolved a highly personal style with mannerist traits. He was a great religious painter and a master portraitist. El Greco is regarded as one of the greatest painters of all time. His paintings are known for their brilliant colors and strong contrasts of light and shadow.
His real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos. According to his own statement, he was born in 1541 in Candia, Crete. He went to the great artistic center of Venice. The date of his arrival in Italy is unknown, but it may have been as early as 1560. During his stay in Italy he became known as II Greco and later he was called El Greco. He was said to be a pupil of Titian.
El Greco left Italy for Spain in the late 1570s. He settled in Toledo, Spain, which was then a religious and cultural center.

In 1577 he created his first masterpiece the Assumption of the Virgin from the high altar of S. Domingo el Antiguo, Toledo. Other important paintings are the Crucifixion with Two Donors (Paris) and the Holy Family (New York).
The high altar (1597-1599) of the chapel of S. Jose, Toledo, is dedicated to St. Joseph with the Christ Child.
El Greco had a love affair with Dona Jeronima de las Cuevas, by whom he had a son, Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli.
His last major commission was for the high altar and lateral altars of the Hospital of St. John Extra Muros, unfinished at his death.
El Greco remained in Toledo until his death on April 7, 1614.
He produced numerous religious works dedicated to the Passion of Christ, such as Christ Carrying the Cross and the Crucifixion, as well as two series of the 12 Apostles.
He prepared an edition of the Roman architectural treatise of Vitruvius, which has been lost. The scholar Fray Hortensio Paravicino and the poet Luis de Gongora y Argote wrote poems about El Greco’s works.

Wonderful paintings by El Greco