El Greco – Greek 1541-1614

El Greco
Self Portrait
El Greco (probably combination of the Castilian and the Venetian language for "The Greek",[?] b. 1541 in Crete, Republic of Venice – d. April 7, 1614 in Toledo, Spain) was a prominent painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. El Greco never forgot that he was of Greek descent and usually signed his paintings in Greek letters with his full name, Doménicos Theotocópoulos thereby underscoring his origins. He was born in Crete (in the village Fodele or in Candia (now Heraklion), the largest city in the island), but decided to go to Venice to study. In 1577 he emigrated to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until the end of his life.

El Greco is the best known Greek-born painter in the world. His highly individual dramatic and expressionistic style met with the puzzlement of his contemporaries but gained newfound appreciation in the 20th century. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation; traits of an art which for certain intellectuals provides an ideal combination of the Eastern tradition of Byzantium and Western civilization. According to the evidence of his time, Doménicos Greco acquired his name, not only because of his place of origin, but also through his sublime art: "Out of the great esteem he was held in he was called the Greek (il Greco)."

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From El Greco to Goya: Painting in Spain, 1561-1828 by Janis Tomlinson - Paperback: 176 pages; Publisher: Laurence King Publishing; Reprint edition (August 1, 2012)

This book covers 250 years of painting in Spain starting with works created at the splendid sixteenth-century court of Philip II to those produced at the Hapsburg and Bourbon courts of Madrid, and in the cities of Seville, Valencia, and Toledo

El Greco: Identity and Transformation: Crete, Italy, Spain by Jose Alvarez Lopera (Editor), N. Hadjinicolau, C. Strinati, J. Alvarez Lapera – Hardcover, 304 pages (July 1999) Skira 280 illustrations

From El Greco to Goya: Painting in Spain, 1561-1828 by Janis Tomlinson – Paperback, 176 pages (September 1997) Harry N Abrams

One of the preeminent Goya scholars, Tomlinson expands her expertise to provide an exceptionally readable and stimulating survey of a period that has traditionally been neglected within art history. Besides her clear, informative prose, the book's outstanding production values make it truly user-friendly.

El Greco (Masters of Art) by Leo Bronstein – Hardcover: 126 pages Publisher: Harry N Abrams (December 1990) Text: Italian, English

El Greco by Michael Scholz-Hänsel -Hardcover: 96 pages; Publisher: Taschen (April 15, 2014)

El Greco confined his palette to a small number of very expressively used shades, with an evident preference for pale purple, pink, and yellow and greyish tones. He located the iconographical events in a space that he dramatized by means of light and atmospheric phenomena. His œuvre had a wide-ranging impact on art up to and including modern 20th-century painting

El Greco: The Burial of Count Orgaz by F. Calvo Serraller, Francisco Calvo Serraller, Greco – Hardcover, 143 pages (May 1995) Thames & Hudson

El Greco & Fernando Arrabal (Secret Museums. 16th Century, Vol. 3) by Fernando Arrabal, Andrew Hurley (Translator) – Paperback (September 1991) Flohic Editions

Portrait of an Artist – El Greco (1982) Format: Color, NTSC
VHS Release Date: June 13, 2000
Run Time: 31 minutes

Filmed on location in Toledo and Venice, El Greco re-creates not only the artist's career, but also the pressures and emotions of the Counter-Reformation, which inspired his work. It shows the locales familiar to the artist and traces his beginnings as a Byzantine icon painter in Crete. El Greco's art expresses both the religion of his times and a private spiritual quest, explored here in masterpieces housed in great churches and museums from Madrid to New York.

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