Domenikos Theotokopoulos, was born in Fodele, a village near Iraklion in the island of Crete, about 1541. He grew up in an idyllic surrounding, a ravine through which a river runs among groves and huge planes.
In such an environment his character and his artistic ideas formed. Perhaps the small Byzantine church of "Virgin Mary", inspired him to treat religious themes and sacred items, and to express his feelings through such work.
Later on he at the monastery of Saint Catherine in Candia (Iraklion), he was thoroughly trained, by the Sinai Friars, in the Byzantine tradition of icon painting and fell under the influence of the Cretan School, and it was here tha his expressive style first formed.
In 1566, at the age of 25, already counted as a "master painter", Theotokopoulos left Crete, to seek wider horizons, and better fortune.
First stop was Venice. (At that time Crete was part of the Venetian Empire). He stayed at Venice for about four years and completed his artistic training near Titian and the great painters of the High Renaissance such as Tintoretto, Veronese and Bassano. Next stop was Rome, in about 1570 where he worked on architecture and sculpture and met famous artists. He felt, however, that the opportunities did not fit to his talent and as an "eternal exile" he left to Spain.
In Madrid, he worked for the Spanish King Philip II in the decoration of the Escorial Palace. His idea of art and his interpretation of themes were not fully understood by Philip, and so in 1577 Theotokopoulos went to Toledo. At Toledo, which was at that time the biggest religious and spiritual center of Spain, Theotokopoulos came to work on the shrine of Santo Domingo el Antigono.
He loved Toledo as his second native land, and in 1584, he decided to settle there permanently.
Though he never married her, here he found Dona Jeronima de la Cuevas, the woman who loved and respected, and had, with her a son, Jorge- Manuel. In Toledo his genius came into full flowering, and Theotokopoulos lived there working until his death in 1614.
At the time of his death his belonging included 115 paintings, 15 sketches and 150 drawings.
Christ on the cross adored
the repentant Peter
Virgin and Child
lady with a fur
A boy blowing on an ember to light a candle
source : http://www.interkriti.org/culture/elgreco/
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