El Greco


Doménikos Theotokópoulos, known as El Greco, lived from 1541-1614. He was one of the last members of the Italian Renaissance. He was born in Crete, where he was known for painting religious icons. Then, he lived for a period in Rome, where he developed a distaste for Michelangelo and didn’t make many friends. Eventually, he relocated to Spain, where he received commissions in the creation of El Escorial before settling in Toledo. El Greco did his best work in Toledo, a city of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. His work influenced the coming Expressionists and Cubists.

Mannerism included a lot of drama. This strange aesthetic included both mystical and hallucinatory elements. Mannerism comes from the Italian word maniera, which means style. It was simply the “stylish style” of its day, emphasizing self-conscious artifice over realistic depiction. Bodies were portrayed as slender, elongated figures that were frequently twisting or turning, contradicting the traditional laws of proportion.

The Art

The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest  By El Greco – [2], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14985612 
Christ Blessing (The Saviour of the World) By El Greco – 7QFG_T532yg-_A at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21865874 
 View of Toledo By El Greco – Unknown source, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=661612 
 The Holy Trinity (easter) By El Greco – [2], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14985575 

Internet Resources



Print Resources*

Photo of Artist

Self-Portrait 1604  By El Greco – This file was donated to Wikimedia Commons as part of a project by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See the Image and Data Resources Open Access Policy, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15394500 

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