Portrait of Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco

Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco Giclée Fine Art Prints

1541-1614

Greek/Spanish Mannerist Painter

The first world-famous master of Spanish painting was not Spanish. In fact, his name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos and he was a Greek from Crete. His nickname 'El Greco' - as everyone calls him today - just means that he was Greek. He was born on the island of Crete, but researchers still cannot establish for sure exactly which city. The year of his birth is taken to be 1541. It is believed that in his youth he practiced the craft of painting under monks, working in the Eastern Orthodox Church's favourite genre, icon painting. His interests led him to leave his homeland early. At that time the island of Crete belonged to Venice and it was in this city that Greco fell, but it is not known exactly when. He worked in the studio of the then world-famous painter Titian. There he became acquainted with the wonderful treasures of the magical city and with the works of the great Italian masters working in Venice.

In 1570 he appeared in Rome as a painter renowned for his gifts and well connected. He went to the palace of the Pope's cousin, Alessandro Farnese, and though he is supposed to have worked there a great deal, we scarcely know this period of his work. In 1576 he moved to Spain and went to Toledo, which at that time was beautiful, flourishing and one of the richest cities of Spain. Here he executed numerous commissions. He painted altars for churches in and around Toledo.

The particular charm of his painting so captivated people that they simply flooded him with commissions. He also went to the royal palace, but painted only two pictures and severed his ties with the court. His charming canvases were extremely popular. Greco was a great craftsman, but he also turned out to be a good salesman. He took on sculptural, even architectural work, often designing the architectural layout of some of the larger altarpieces himself. When the artist and talented writer Francisco Pacheco - Velázquez's later teacher and father-in-law - visited him in Toledo a few years before his death, he remarked that the old master had shown him a collection of small reproductions of his paintings. Probably the clients chose the painting they liked from this collection (the sampler collection). It is also known that Greco employed a master carver from Seville to sell his paintings, giving them to him on consignment. Thus numerous versions of the same work have come down to us, and there are even paintings that he painted over twenty times. Often there are compositions of which more than ten copies have survived - with minor or major changes. The many works in which his son and assistant participated provided Greco with a comfortable existence. He lived lavishly in his palace in Toledo, dressed in expensive, fine clothes, and entertained his guests with his own orchestra. This life devoted to glamour is interrupted only towards the end of his life, because the artist falls ill and is forced to work less. When, in 1614, he was forced to leave his work. Greco died, he bequeathed only a few trifles to his son.

Greco never deviated from his own established path in art and did not conform to the opinions of others. His entire oeuvre stands out from ordinary art; it is distinctly individual and is understood only by a few of his contemporaries. When he died, the poet Luis de Gongora wrote a funereal sonnet. The rich coffin containing his remains was lost to time, just as the darkness of oblivion enveloped his art for several centuries, only to be rediscovered at the end of the last century. The peculiar mood of his canvases, the passionate characterisation of his figures, the unnaturally elongated, distorted proportions, the strangely vibrating harmony of his colours, attracted the attention of some artists at a time when modern art was taking shape. The successors of the Impressionists took the exaggerated actual proportions, elongated figures, and extraordinary impact of his coloring as a starting point for their own explorations and revered him as one of the precursors of their own creative aspirations.

Greco was not a court painter. He also painted relatively few portraits. He reproduces with striking psychological power the sometimes frightening images of his models. Most often he painted religious pictures, since in the "most Catholic" country they were most in demand.

His first large-scale work, "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz", was in fact a transition from multi-figure portrait paintings to compositions with religious themes. In the last period of his life he also painted landscapes. He depicted his beloved city of Toledo with the same passion with which he developed his other subjects. Greco is one of the distinguished but solitary figures in Spanish and European painting. His work can be somewhat compared to that of the Italian Tintoretto. He, the Greek who signed his paintings with Greek letters for the rest of his life, was the first to raise Spanish painting to the level of European painting.

18 El Greco Artworks

Saint Andrew, 1600 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Saint Andrew 1600

Giclée Canvas Print
$50.05
SKU: 19195-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:110 x 65 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Saint Bartholomew Apostle, c.1600 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Saint Bartholomew Apostle c.1600

Giclée Canvas Print
$52.75
SKU: 19194-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:49.5 x 42.5 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Boy Blowing an Ember, c.1570/72 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Boy Blowing an Ember c.1570/72

Giclée Canvas Print
$63.02
SKU: 19193-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:60.5 x 50.5 cm
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte , Napoli, Italy

Pentecost, c.1600 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Pentecost c.1600

Giclée Canvas Print
$50.05
SKU: 16754-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:275 x 127 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

The Crucifixion, c.1597/00 by El Greco | Canvas Print

The Crucifixion c.1597/00

Giclée Canvas Print
$51.08
SKU: 16753-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:312 x 169 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

Saint Andrew and Saint Francis, c.1595 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Saint Andrew and Saint Francis c.1595

Giclée Canvas Print
$50.06
SKU: 16752-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:167 x 113 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

The Baptism of Christ, c.1597/00 by El Greco | Canvas Print

The Baptism of Christ c.1597/00

Giclée Canvas Print
$50.05
SKU: 16751-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:350 x 144 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

The Resurrection, c.1597/00 by El Greco | Canvas Print

The Resurrection c.1597/00

Giclée Canvas Print
$50.05
SKU: 16750-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:275 x 127 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

Adoration of the Shepherds, c.1612/14 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Adoration of the Shepherds c.1612/14

Giclée Canvas Print
$52.46
SKU: 16749-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:319 x 180 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

The Trinity, c.1577/79 by El Greco | Canvas Print

The Trinity c.1577/79

Giclée Canvas Print
$53.99
SKU: 16748-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:300 x 179 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

The Annunciation, c.1570 by El Greco | Canvas Print

The Annunciation c.1570

Giclée Canvas Print
$50.05
SKU: 16747-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:26.7 x 20 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

Christ on the Cross, c.1600/10 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Christ on the Cross c.1600/10

Giclée Canvas Print
$50.05
SKU: 4598-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:193 x 116 cm
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA

The Holy Family with Mary Magdalen, c.1590/95 by El Greco | Canvas Print
SKU: 4596-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:130 x 100 cm
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA

View of Toledo, c.1599/00 by El Greco | Canvas Print

View of Toledo c.1599/00

Giclée Canvas Print
$67.57
SKU: 4593-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:121.3 x 108.6 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

The Agony in the Garden, c. 1590/95 by El Greco | Canvas Print

The Agony in the Garden c. 1590/95

Giclée Canvas Print
$67.29
SKU: 3229-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:102.2 x 113.7 cm
Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA

Portrait of Vincenzo Anastagi, c.1571/76 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Portrait of Vincenzo Anastagi c.1571/76

Giclée Canvas Print
$50.74
SKU: 3197-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:188 x 126.7 cm
Frick Collection, New York, USA

Saint Jerome, c.1590/00 by El Greco | Canvas Print

Saint Jerome c.1590/00

Giclée Canvas Print
$64.81
SKU: 3196-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:110.5 x 95.3 cm
Frick Collection, New York, USA

The Purification of the Temple, c.1600 by El Greco | Canvas Print

The Purification of the Temple c.1600

Giclée Canvas Print
$55.18
SKU: 3195-GEL
Domenikos Theotokopoulos El Greco
Original Size:42 x 52.4 cm
Frick Collection, New York, USA

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