El Greco

By: Mitchell Roy

Biography of "The Greek"

  • Born in Candia, Crete, Greece in 1541
  • Birth name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos
  • Spent most of his life in Toledo, Spain (1577-1614)
  • A student of Titian in Venice, very well educated
  • Religion was the most important part of his life
  • Could speak Italian and Spanish
  • Created paintings (Adoration of the Name of Jesus, Assumption of the Virgin, and Espolio to name a few)
  • Churches in and around Toledo were his patrons (S. Domingo el Antiguo was probably the biggest patron for El Greco)
  • "El Greco" is Spanish for "The Greek"
  • Given this nickname in Spain because of where he was originally from


Adoration of the Name of Jesus

  • Created between 1577-1579
  • Located in the Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial in Madrid, Spain
  • Also known as The Dream of Felipe II

The significance of this piece is that it shows lots of Christians worshipping their God. In a time where people began turning away from religion, this piece makes it seem as if religion is becoming a necessity for more and more people. A new technique used in this piece is linear perspective. The people in the front are larger than the people perceived to be in the back.


I found this piece so interesting because El Greco paints so many individual people and they are all worshiping God. I can relate to this because I go to church nearly every week to worship God as well. Therefore, if I were living in El Greco's time, I could be one of these Christians in the painting.


The "-ism" that this piece mostly exemplifies is individualism. The painting depicts many different people with their own characteristics and facial expressions. Another "-ism" that can be found in this painting is idealism. Idealism puts religion above all, so this wasn't very common in the Renaissance, however, El Greco clearly shows that God comes first in Adoration of the Name of Jesus.


Greco, El. Adoration of the Name of Jesus. 1577. Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial, Madrid, Spain. ARTstor. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

"El Greco." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography In Context. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.