El Greco Fact File: Lifespan: 1541 - 1614 *** Full Name: Domenikos Theotokopoulos was also known as El Greco *** Date of Birth: He was born in 1514, the exact date of his birth is unknown *** Place of Birth: He was born in Heraklion on the island of Crete, part of the Republic of Venice *** Family background: His father was Georgios Theotokopoulos was a local tax collector and merchant. Nothing is known of his mother. Although there is no mention of a wife he did have a son Jorge Manuel *** Education: Raised and well educated his early training was within a Cretan school, a post-Byzantine art center. It is thought he would also have studied ancient Greece and Latin.
El Greco Fact 1: He was born during the Renaissance period in history which began in Northern Italy during the 14th century
El Greco Fact 2: The Republic of Venice at that time was the Post-Byzantine center for art.
El Greco Fact 3: He was trained in the Byzantine style in Crete before deciding to move to Venice when he was 26 years of age, following in the footsteps of many other artists making the same journey.
El Greco Fact 4: He moved on to Rome in 1570 and proceeded to set up his own workshop and set about creating a several pieces of work.
El Greco Fact 5: It would be during his time in Italy that he developed his style with foundations of Mannerism with the Venetian Renaissance.
El Greco Fact 6: Whilst living and working in Venice it has been suggested that as a great admirer of Titian, he may have worked in Titianís studio.
El Greco Fact 7: At this time he deliberately changed his style of painting, seeking to become more individual. Influenced largely by the Venetian Renaissance style he strove to reinterpret the traditional religious subjects.
El Greco Fact 8: Whilst in Rome he was advised to make the acquaintance of several of its occupants, namely the Cardinal Alessandro Farnese residing in the Palazzo Farnese and also Fulvio Orsini, a Roman scholar who over time would come to own a number of El Greco's paintings.
El Greco Fact 9: He had very specific ideas and also had a very unique personality that did not endear himself to others and so he found himself with numerous enemies in Rome and so decided it was time to move on.
El Greco Fact 10: It would transpire that he would spend the rest of his days in Toledo.
El Greco Fact 11: Having originated from Crete he was believed to be of Greek Orthodox origins but he would describe himself as a devout Catholic, as did many emigrants at the time.
El Greco Fact 12: He first settled in Madrid in 1577 briefly before moving on to Toledo
El Greco Fact 13: Toledo at this time was the capital of religious Spain with ďan illustrious past, a prosperous present and an uncertain futureĒ.
El Greco Fact 14: Whilst he had been in Rome the few people he had made a good impression on some namely Clovio and Orsini.
El Greco Fact 15: Through these men he was introduced to Benito Arias Montano, a representative of Philip II and a Spanish Humanist.
El Greco Fact 16: He also made the acquaintance of a clergyman, Pedro Chacon and the son of Diego de Castilla, the dean of the Cathedral of Toledo, Luis de Castilla.
El Greco Fact 17: Through his friendship with Luis, El Greco was able to gain his first important offer of work for a series of paintings for the church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo and for the celebrated El Espolio.
El Greco Fact 18: Although his main ambition had been to secure employment in the Royal Court for Philip II of Spain, his wish was not be. The King had requested two pieces from El Greco but was not taken with them and so he commission no more.
El Greco Fact 19: This subsequently meant that he stayed where the employment was and that was in Toledo.
El Greco Fact 20: He died in Toledo, Spain on April 7th 1614.
Notable Events of the Renaissance and during the life of El Greco include: Michelangelo completed The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, the Inquisition settled in Rome and Henry VII King of England died.
List of Famous Works by El Greco:
Dormition of the Virgin c.1565-1566
Modena Tryptych c.1567-1569
St Luke Painting the Virgin and Child c.1567
The Adoration of the Magic.1565-1567
Purification of the Temple c.1568
The Last Supper c.1569-1570
Purification of the Temple c.1570
The Annunciation c.1576
Maria Magdalen in Penitence c.1577
The Martyrdom of Saint Maurice c.1580-1582
Saint Peter in Tears c.1587-1596
View and Plan of Toledo c.1608-1614
The Adoration of the Shepherds c.1612-1614
Short Facts about El Greco for Kids
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