El Greco "Domenikos Theotokopoulos"

By Nick Gelinas

El Greco's Life

El Greco was born in 1541 in Candia, Crete, Greece and died on April 6, 1614 in Toledo Spain. He spent most of his life in Madrid, Spain learning how to paint from his teacher Titian.

El Greco was very friendly and religious and could also read in multiple languages that included, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. Greco was very will known as a master painter and a couple of his pieces were Laocoon and Christ Redeemer. The one patron El Greco had was the most influential and most wealthy patron of that time. His name was Cardinal Alessandro Farnese.

Humanism along with skepticism relate to El Greco because he paints the human body frequently and was taught by philosophers to ask questions about life and deeper questions like, why are we on this Earth.


The name of this painting is Laocoon which was created between 1610 and 1614. This painting can be seen at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. The technique used was oil painting. The most significant part is that Laocoon was a priest of Poseidon and was strangled by a creation of the very God that he praised.

The piece shows men getting strangled by the creation of their beloved God. The men are being punished because they were trying to warn their town of the Trojan Horse so they can defend their town. The painting best represents humanism because the painter shows off the human body in its simplest form. I find this piece interesting because it shows that life is not fair, you may praise someone your whole life, but if you make one wrong move that could end your life very quickly.

Source Citation

Biography in Context

"El Greco." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.


AR: El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Greek, 1541-1614
TI: Portrait of a Man
DT: ca. 1590-1600
DS: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
DS: http://www.metmuseum.org
AA: ARTstor
CN: MMA_IAP_1039652363
UR: http://library.artstor.org/library/secure/ViewImages?id=%2FDFMaiMuOztdLS0wdD59RXws


AR: El Greco
TI: Laocoön
DT: early 1610s
DS: National Gallery of Art (U.S.)
AA: ARTstor
CN: LESSING_ART_1039901980
UR: http://library.artstor.org/library/secure/ViewImages?id=%2FThWdC8hIywtPygxFTx5TnkgXnEqdQ%3D%3D