Doménikos Theotokópoulos was born in the year 1541 in the kingdom of Candia which is located in crete well known for a great production of artistic materials . During his time of birth, Crete was the state of venice as well as the main place where Post-Byzantine art took place. El Greco- was his nick name. He acquired the name from the Italians who had a trend of calling a person name referring to his homeland. The name meant the greek. He came from a well to do family. Their parents had been driven out from Chania and took refuge in Candia after the mutiny against the venetians in the year 1526 nad1528. El Greco’s father, Geo’rgios Theotokopoulos was a tax collector as well as a business man. El Greco was a great painter, architecture and a good sculpture. El Greco had a female companion called Jeronima de las Cuevas although it is not well known whether he married her .She was the mother to his son Jorge Manuel who was born in the year 1578. Jorge was the only son of El Greco(Mango Cyril, 2002). Like his father he lived to be a painter and followed the footsteps of his father even after his death.
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El Greco began his entrepreneurship in the Cretan school, where he was trained to be an icon painter. In 1567, El Greco, like any other artist, moved to Venice where he trained to was recognized as a master in renaissance painting and elaborating narratives. One of his greatest works that he did in venice was The miracle of healing the blind done in 1978.
From Venice he went to Rome. Here he worked from 1570 to 1576. The Croatian miniaturist, gulio clovio gave him a letter of recommendation where he was going to Rome. He also secured him a place to stay in the palace of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. In the year 1572, he joined a painter’s academy. He also started his own shop where he worked alongside two assistants. His main aim by then was to pursue a roman career.
El Greco is well remembered for some of his great works. An example of this is the Portrait of Giorgio Guilio Clovio (Allardyce, 2003). This is one of the earliest works. Which he did in the year 1570. This portrait was 58 by 86 cm. the picture was laid on a background of canvas that had oil applied on it. It was a picture of a friend together with another person who supported the Cretan artist. This was one of the pictures that proved his expertise in portraitist.
The Burial of Count Orgaz, is the other most celebrated. This was commissioned by the parish priest in santo toledo in 1586. He commissioned it during the repayment of a financial compulsion to the church. The portrait honors a patron who died long time ago. In his funeral saints Augustine and a friend were seen to appear and help during the burial in a miraculous manner. The picture captures both the miracle as well as the process that the soul went through before it was accepted in paradise . The painter played a great role when he drew the picture since the picture combines and relates both experiences in the physical world of the viewer as well as the imaginary world.
The assumptions of the virgin also known as the Art Institute of Chicago was a portrait done in the year 1579. It was also completed for the church of santo domigo in Toledo. It was 401 by 228cm. In 1577, Greco migrated to Madrid, and later to Toledo. Here, he signed various contracts for paintings that would take place in the santa domigo el antiguo church. He attained this contracts through the help of clovoi and orsini who helped him to meet Philips agent , benito Montana . By 1579 in september, he had done nine paintings for the church .
This contracts helped him to become famous among the people of Toledo .thus helping him to win two other commissions from the emperor. He was assigned the duty of paiting the two pictures , Allegory of the Holy League and Martyrdom of St. Maurice. Unfortunately, the king disapproved his work . infact he placed alterpiece of saint Maurice in the chapter house rather than in the chapel that it was intended. In 1585 , he hired a person to assist him in his recently opened workshop. In these workshop he was able to produce frames for the altar and statues. Francisco Preboste , his assistant – was of great help to him since through him he was able to obtain a new commission on 1586 march ,that allowed him to work on the portrait of the Burial of the Count of Orgaz.
During the years between 1597 to 1607, El Greco was more successful. He was able to produce sculptural and many pictures resembling religious organizations.He was also able to gain various commissions from different people. Three of the great commissions of the time , were the building and painting done for the altars of san Jose chapel in Toledo done in 1597 -1599. The paintings done for during 1596-1600 for colegio de dona Maria de Aragon, which was a monastry in Madrid (Marias, 1999). He also did the four tangential altars as well as painting at St Ildefonso for the capilla Mayor of the Hospital de la caridad.
In 1607 the minutes written by the commission of the the Virgin of the Immmaculate conception, described ElGreco as a great man worldwide. In 1607, El Greco got involved in a dispute with the Hospital of charity authorities at Illescas. The dispute was about his delayed payment. This dispute among others highly contributed to the problems he experienced in his economic life in his last days (Acton, 1991). All the same this did not stop him from working . In 1608, the hospital of St John the Baptist in Toledo, offered him a commisiion . This was one of his last works.
El Greco ended up living in Toledo in one of te houses he bought from Marquis de villena. This was where he spent the rest of his life . He used the house as his work shop as well. He hired musicians to play for him as he ate dinner.
He died in the year 1614 in the month of April 7 and was buried in the church of santo Domingo el Antigua. He died when he was 72 years old. He died as he was working on the commission given to him by the Hospital Tavera(Lambraki-Plaka , 1992). He seriously became ill but left a will that his son should inherit him after his death. The will was witnessed by two greek men.
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