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  • El Greco (El Greco) 1541-1614

    El Greco (El Greco) 1541-1614

    In 1881, the director of the Prado Museum refused to include in the collection of this artist's work, stating that "ridiculous cartoons have nothing to do with true works of art." After a hundred years, the museum's policy has radically changed: for the exposition of paintings, El Greco will be allocated a separate room and will seek to redeem all available canvases of his brush. Nowadays, Domenico Theotokopuli in Spain is revered as a national shrine, and in Toledo, where he spent most of his life, there is a museum of his name.

    El Greco_Pieta (The Sorrowful Virgin) (700x530, 459Kb)
    El Greco. "Pieta (The Sorrowful Mother of God)"


    El Greco. "Annunciation"


    El Greco. Self-portrait

    El Greco (formerly El Greco, real name Domenico Theotokopuli (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), 1541, Candia, Crete - April 7, 1614, Toledo, Spain) is a Spanish painter of Greek origin. Becoming a popular and in demand master during his lifetime, he was consigned to oblivion for as long as three centuries after his death. Thanks to the motley biography, El Greco's painting absorbed the features of several powerful currents: Byzantine icon painting, Italian Renaissance and Mannerism, all under the sauce of Spanish mysticism. After his "re-discovered", the original and poorly classifiable creativity of the Spanish Greek began to be attributed to the origins of modernism, and his works began to be valued as highly as the recognized masterpieces of old masters.


    El Greco. "Holy Family with Saint Anne and the Young John the Baptist", 1590


    El Greco. "Christ with the Cross," 1602


    El Greco. "Annunciation"

    Moving throughout life from country to country, the painter took the most liked traits from each of the schools he had to face. The calligraphic accuracy of Cretan painting combined with the vivid coloring of Byzantine iconography, the mystical ecstasy of Catholic religious scenes and the art of the mannerists allowed Domenico to create his own unique recognizable style that does not allow him to be attributed to any of the currents in pure form.

    The date of birth of the artist was determined on the basis that in 1601 he called the guests to celebrate his 60th anniversary. Therefore, it is believed that the future eccentric master was born in 1541 near the modern capital of the island of Crete in the family of the tax collector. The elder brother was a customs officer, and the family was not constrained by the means. Domenico was lucky: he was not forced to study at a dentist or a lawyer, but allowed to develop artistic inclinations. He mastered the craft in the icon-painting workshop, and in a document dated 1566, it appears that the artist Domeniko Teotokopuli is a master of miniatures and frescoes.


    El Greco. "Penitential Mary Magdalene", 1578


    El Greco. "Saint Luca as an Artist", 1608

    Having mastered the lessons of Byzantine icon painting, the creeper, covetous to knowledge, naturally sent his gaze towards Italy, where at that time the most advanced and enlightened masters were creating. In Venice, the Cretan manner of the young artist of the letter was supplemented by knowledge about the perspective and a recognizable Venetian color.

    The next short stop on his way was Rome. But there he did not stay long because of the first major scandal: the wayward and self-assured Greek allegedly allowed himself a remark about the "Last Judgment" by Michelangelo, whom the Italians could not forgive him. "Let's destroy this mural, and I in its place will write another, which will be more chaste and noble, but will not yield first to the skill of execution" - these imprudent words sent the impudent artist to Spain, where he finally settled and turned into El Greco - "Greek" in Spanish. The full name on his new homeland to pronounce no one was simply not able, although in his paintings he will put the signature of Kres - "Cretan".

    After an unsuccessful attempt to please Philip II and gain a foothold as a court painter at the royal palace of the Escorial El Greco settles in the Spanish city of Toledo. Here he finally hones his unique style, writes his best works and finally attains deserved fame and honor, although not without a scandal.



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