El Greco Paintings


El Greco’s real name is actually Doménikos Theotokópoulos, and he was born on the Greek island of Crete. His initial plan was to follow the tradition of court painters, but his distinctive style soon exceeded any of the conventional styles.


In his adolescence, Theotokópoulos studied to be a Byzantine icon painter on the island of Crete – a style that featured devotional portraiture of religious subjects.

mature period

The artist would spend a total of three years in Venice before moving to Rome in 1570, staying in the palace quarters of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, a very affluent patron of the arts.

mature period

This period of the artist’s life is marked by his conversion from Greek orthodoxy to Catholicism. Not much is known about his personal life, but his religious devotion is evident.

mature period

Although the exact date is unknown, at some point in El Greco’s mature years, the most powerful and wealthiest European ruler of that era, King Phillip V, commissioned El Greco to paint for him.

later life

While producing a piece for the Hospital Tavera in 1614, he suddenly fell ill and passed away shortly after. He had always enjoyed a rather comfortable life but did not leave behind a substantial estate.


Nowadays he is regarded as one of the greatest painters and visionaries of his era, but during his lifetime, his highly individualistic artworks were met with great confusion and reluctance.


Eschewing the traditional criteria of proportions and measure, he strove for a form of expression that held higher regard for the use of intuition and imagination than for subject portrayals.