ელ გრეკო (El Greco)
Doménikos Theotokópoulos (Greek: Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος [ðoˈminikos θeotoˈkopulos], 1541 – 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco (pronounced: [el ˈgɾeko]; Spanish for “The Greek”), was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. The nickname “El Greco” refers both to his Greek origin and Spanish citizenship. The artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), often adding the word Κρής (Krēs, “Cretan“).
El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of theVenetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.
El Greco’s dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting.
El Greco quotes
“You must study the Masters but guard the original style that beats within your soul and put to sword those who would try to steal it. “
“I paint because the spirits whisper madly inside my head. “
“I suffer for my art and despise the witless moneyed scoundrels who praise it.”
“The language of art is celestial in origin and can only be understood by the chosen.”
“It is only after years of struggle and deprivation that the young artist should touch color – and then only in the company of his betters. “
“Artists create out of a sense of desolation. The spirit of creation is a excruciating, intricate exploration from within the soul.”
“I was created by the all powerful God to fill the universe with my masterpieces.”
“Art is everywhere you look for it, hail the twinkling stars for they are God’s careless splatters.”
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