El Greco (Spanish name with italian influence “Il Greco” - the Greek), is the name under which is known Domênikos Theotokopoulos, 1541,Iraklion / Crete - 7 April 1614, Toledo / Spain) was a spanish Mannerist painter of Greek origin, mysterious personality, both in terms of specifics of his style andbecause of incomplete biography. Known mostly because of his paintings on religious themes as a portraitist, his contributions in the field of sculpture and architecture were, unfortunately, forgotten.
Domênikos (Dominik) Theotokópulos (family name literally means ”son of the Virgin “) was born in 1541 in Candia (Handak), (now the port of Heraklion), Crete island, then a Venetian possession. We do not have any information on the artist’s youthful years. Only in an affidavit, dated 6 June 1566, has kept his signature, ”Master Menegos Theotokopoulos” and added the word itself - ”zgurafos” (the local Greek dialect:painter).
Thus we know that the painter was 25 years specializing in miniatures on wood and frescoes.
The next two years of his life remain unknown by El Greco biogafi. Notes from the archives tell us that in August 1568 is preparing to ship from Venice to Candia, designs a cartographer, and his native Crete. Presumably as an apprentice in his studio for another painter Tiziano or project region. Two years later, he met in Rome with Tintoretto,who will be his next master.
Giulio Clovio, miniaturist and Enlightenment philosopher,protector of the painter, recommends him to the influential and wealthy Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Conditions are favorable and the young Greek begins to take orders. In 1572,the corporation becomes a member Domênikos Theotokópulos painters in Rome,known as ”St. Luke Academy. Relations with the painters in Rome are not the best, and will shortly leave Italy and went to Spain where King Philip II in Escurial century began building a huge palace-monastery for many artists an opportunity to find work.
In 1577, after arriving in Toledo, El Greco received the command of Diego de Castilla for three altars for the church Antiguo Santo Domingo and the canons of the body, the execution of the paintings for the chapel of the cathedral city. Therefore,the painter made in this period, “the Espolio (“ Undressed Christ ”, 1577-1579) and paintings of the altar. Thanks to these true masterpieces, his success is overwhelming.
After years of wandering, Cretan immigrant finally finds his place where he will remain until his death in Toledo. Spanish people call him “El Greco”, using the Italian form of ”Greek” and not the expression of Castilian ”Griego”, as had been expected. However, the artist continues to work and sign with his real name, using the Greek alphabet. Add often ”dolt” or ”made by adolt. “