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 ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters.
In this ancient city, which El Greco immortalized in one of the most celebrated landscapes in Western art—the View of Toledo
Threatened by the rise of Protestantism, the Catholic Church of the time began stressing individual piety and the spiritual reality that underlies appearances. El Greco's work, with its distortions for emotional effect and etiolated figures hovering in nonphysical space, reflects this.
the whole painting is used to show up the Christ-child. Both color and spatial position of the elements force the viewer to direct his look to the main character of the painting.
He was trained as icon-maker in a monastery; he then went to Venice (soon after 1560), where Titian became his greatest mentor. El Greco, however, obtained very little influence from his master; but a certain influence of Bassano, Baroccio, Veronese, and Tintoretto could be felt but on the whole his works are very individual and distinct.
his first works were the paintings for the high altar of Santo Domingo, and his famous picture of "The Disrobing of Christ" in the sacristy of the cathedral.
The subject for the "Burial" was that good works were a part of salvation and the saints in the upper half of the painting are intercessors between man and God.
The commission that took him to Toledo -- the high altarpiece of the church of S. Domingo el Antiguo -- was gained through Diego de Castilla, Dean of Canons at Toledo Cathedral, whom El Greco had met in Rome. The central part of the altarpiece, a 4-m. high canvas of The Assumption of the Virgin (Art Institute of Chicago, 1577), was easily his biggest work to date, but he carried off the dynamic composition triumphantly.
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.
El Greco rejected naturalism as a vehicle for his art just as he rejected the idea of an art easily accessible to a large public. What he embraced was the world of a self-consciously, erudite style, or maniera.
El Greco sometimes used interns of hospitals/mental institutions as examples to help create the characters of his works, believing them to be closer to God.
Born on the island of Crete, Domenikos Theotokopoulos acquired the name El Greco—the Greek—in Italy and Spain. After working as an icon painter in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, he left Crete in 1568 to study western-style painting in Venice.
he discovered a new technique while he was sitting in a dark room, wherein he observed that the darkness disturbed his “inner light” and that it was more interesting than the light of the day itself.
After his death, the painter's work fell into obscurity until the late 19th century, when there was renewed interest and his liberation of form, light and colour inspired such artists as Pablo Picasso.
El Greco combined the strict Byzantine style of his homeland, Greece, with influences received during his studies in Venice and the medieval tradition of the country where he worked, Spain.
El Greco's style, highly charged and hypnotic, was well suited to the aims of the Counter-Reformation. In the face of Protestant revolt, the Catholic church sought to reform its practices and reinforce belief in its doctrines.