El Greco

and "Saint Martin Dividing His Cloak With The Beggar"

El Greco

El Greco, or Domenikos Theotokopoulos, was born in Candia, Crete (in Greece) in 1541. Although he was Greek, he rarely spent any time there. He lived in Venice, Italy for a short period of time, but spent the majority of his life living in Toledo, Spain (which led him to be called El Greco.) It is said that he was a pupil of Titan, but to practice his artwork he opened a workshop and practiced his artistic techniques and styles. El Greco was mainly a painter, but he was also a talented architect and a sculpture. Three of his well-known paintings are Espolio, Disrobing of Christ, and Allegory of the Holy League. Since most of his paintings were about Christianity and related to the Church, the Church was the main patron of El Greco. He created these realistic pieces of artwork to show the moments and stories that were told in the Bible, but through colors and painting techniques. Although he was mostly linked to mannerism, you could also say that he was linked to humanism (because of the deep emotions in the paintings and the relationships shown in his work) and also, linked to naturalism (because of the deep detail in the shadows of cloth and the detail in the human form, making the people in the paintings look real.)

"Saint Martin and the Beggar"

The piece of artwork that I found the most interesting by El Greco, was Saint Martin and the Beggar. The piece was created from 1597 to 1599. You can find this piece at the National Gallery of Art, located in the United States, or below this paragraph. I also provided a link below. This piece of artwork has many memorable qualities of it. First, the nude beggar was a huge piece of the painting that was so significant. This allowed El Greco to express the point he was trying to make, which I believe was to show the kindness of Saint Martin. By having the beggar nude, you can see how starved he is, which also shows how poor he is, but Saint Martin helps him nonetheless. The fact that the beggar is nude also shows the contrast between St. Martin and the beggar. Lastly, the landscape in the background awed people and became a memorable piece in the painting. In this artwork, you see a poor, young beggar, with only a towel/blanket wrapped around his midsection pleading to the clean, expensively-dressed St. Martin, who looks down on the beggar with a kind, soft expression. St. Martin is riding on a clean, white horse and in the background, you can see distant mountains. The biggest "ism" that I feel is linked to this painting is humanism. Although it is related to religion, this painting has a huge amount of emotion inside it. You can see how kindly St. Martin looks down upon the beggar and the kindness he treats the beggar with. It shows the bond between Saint Martin and the beggar. You can also see the emotion on the beggar's face, which looks grateful and thankful. This piece has evident human emotion and , therefore, humans in relation to one another. This is also why I find this piece so interesting. The fact that St. Martin is not looking down on the beggar with annoyance or discomfort shows a special relationship between humans that people need to remember even today. As one race, we can care for each other when others are in times of need, no matter who they are. Although people automatically judge others out of habit, or are too scared to help others in fear of what would happen to them, this painting shows that some people still have the courage to help others, no matter who they are.
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Other Works of El Greco

Works Cited

"El Greco." Artble. Artbl, 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

"El Greco." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 30

Nov. 2015.

“El Greco.” Google Image Search. 1 December 2015.

“El Greco View of Toledo.” Google Image Search. 1 December 2015.

"Saint Martin and the Beggar ." Artstor. ARTstor Collections, Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Saint Martin and the Beggar. Digital image. Artstor. ARTstor Collections, Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“The Disrobing of Christ El Greco.” Google Image Search. 1 December 2015.

“The Miracle of Christ Healing the Blind El Greco.” Google Image Search. 1 December

2015.