El Greco, born Doménikos Theotokópoulos, (1541 – 7 April 1614) was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El Greco" (The Greek) was a nickname, a reference to his national Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), often adding the word Κρής
During the Spanish Renaissance, one man named El Greco served as the primary influence of painters to come, with his contributions in the fields of Cubism and Expressionism. For thousands of years, not even one artist came close to his style of painting and sculpture, and even up to this day, most people have consulted for his techniques that combine those of Western style painting and Byzantine culture. This world-renowned artist faced many trials and hardships, especially during his start of his artistic career and until several years after his death, but it was not too long after that many artists started appreciating his works of art.
El Greco was born as Doménikos Theotokópoulos in 1541 to his father Geórgios Theotokópoulos, a tax collector and merchant in his time, and his Greek mother, who has remained somewhat of a mystery even today. The family belonged to the middle class and lived in a village on Chania, Crete, but the uprising against the Venetians some time between 1526 and 1528 led them to move away to Candia afterwards. Even in his childhood, young El Greco showed huge interest and talent in the field of art, and became enthusiastic in taking up training as an icon painter and studying the cultures of Ancient Greece and Latin traditions and culture in a Cretan school, which was the main source of post-Byzantine style of painting that time. It is important to note that Candia was actually the famous center of art that time where the combination of Western and Eastern cultures thrived, and this was also the place where numerous painters gathered to form a painters’ guild.
In June of 1566, after three years, he officially signed his name as “Master Menégos Theotokópoulos, painter” as a witness to a contract. After some time, he decided to continue his career in Venice, where a friend he met there named Croatian Giulio Clovio even recognized him as a “rare talent in painting.” During his time there, instead of staying with the usual trends, El Greco sought to invent uncommon interpretations to topics about religion, using a style that highlights elongated figures, multi-figured compositions, vibrant lighting, and chromatic framework. In 1570, he eventually went to Rome in order to hone his skills further.
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