El Greco

By: Emma Stahl

Biography Information

El Greco, or more formally known as Domenikos Theotokopoulos, was born in Candia, Crete in 1541. In his mid-twenties, El Greco moved from Crete to Venice because Crete was part of the republic of Venice at that time. While in Venice he shortly made a trip to Rome, then back to Venice. When he was 35, El Greco moved to Madrid, Spain and later Toledo, where he spent the rest of his life. While in Venice, El Greco studied under the guardianship of Titian where he mastered the aspects of Renaissance painting. El Greco formed a liaison with Doña Jerónima de las Cuevas and later had a son with her. Most of El Greco's commissions were in Toledo where his fame spread throughout Spain. He was a leading humanist and intellectual, while being a man of culture and knowledge of Greek and Latin literature. El Greco created paintings including ones from the Italian period, the Early Spanish period, and the Late Style. From the Italian period he created Boy Lighting a Candle anytime from 1560-1576. From 1577-1588 in the Early Spanish period he created the Assumption of the Virgin. In the Late Style from 1588-1614, El Greco created Christ Carrying the Cross. His patrons were knowledgable churchmen since he mostly created for the church. El Greco was mostly a Classicism artist. He was a religious painter who used styles from the Greek and Roman past. He also used lots of form and detail. As well as Classicism, El Greco used some aspects of Humanism because his works included a large focus on humans and made his art more meaningful. His paintings are not fully Humanism-based because his paintings are mainly religious.
Big image

The Assumption of the Virgin

As shown above, this painting is called the Assumption of the Virgin. This piece was created in 1577. This painting is currently published in the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. It was from the high altar of S. Domingo el Antiguo, Toledo. It showed independence in spatial organization and showed technical brilliance in colors. This painting is about the story of Mary going up to heaven. He divided the canvas and made the two sections about two different people. These two groups of people either celebrate or are confused about Mary going up to heaven. With the way Mary is painted, it shows her purity. You would find Classicism in this painting because it shows style from Greece and Rome and shows a large religious topic which you do not see in other isms. Also there is elegance and detail in the painting. I find this painting interesting because it shows a religious artist and style that you do not see with a lot of the Isms in that period. Also, since I am religious it is interesting to see a painting I could see in my church.

You can read about this painting at this link:


Works Cited

"El Greco." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

"The Art Institute of Chicago." The Assumption of the Virgin. Web. 4 Dec. 2015. <http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/Renaissance/Assumption>.


The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL