Domenico Theotocopoulos was one of the most highly regarded Spanish artists of his time.Born in Fodele, a minor community located on the isle of Crete, in about 1542.
Theotocopoulos, also known as "El Greco"(meaning The Greek), was to become a "Spanish" mannerist, whose work, with that of Francisco de Goya and Diego Velasquez, represents the peak of Spanish art.He grew up in the tranquil surroundings of Crete and the near by islands of the Mediterranean.In this environment his character and his artistic ideas must have formed their foundation.Perhaps the small Byzantine churches interested him to study religious themes and idols.
He was thoroughly trained at the monastery of St. Catherine in Candia, Crete.None of his early works from hisfirst year survived, but they were probably painted in the late Byzantine style that was popular in Crete at the time.Theotocopoulos was also trained in the traditional Byzantine style of icon painting and was influenced by the Cretan schools.
This is where his expressive stylefirst formed.He was a well-educated man, whose taste for classical and contemporary literature seems to have developed in his youth. At the age of twenty-five, Theotocopoulos had already been deemed as a "master painter".He left Crete seeking a better future.In 1566, Theotocopoulos went to Venice.
At the time Crete was part of the Venetian Empire.He was employed in the workshop of Titian, and was also strongly influenced by Tintoretto, both masters during the High Renaissance.Theotocopoulos stayed at Venice for about four years.There he created one of his early paintings, such as his "Christ healing the Blind".
This painting demonstrates his color techniques, figural composition, and religious depth. Theotocopoulos moved on to Rome in 1570 to seek new horizons.Sculptural inspiration came Italian artists, like Michelangelo and his Pieta and Purificati.