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El Greco...and the Whispering Spirits of the...

By: Susannah Cord

  • El Greco...and the Whispering Spirits

Portrait of a Man, Presumed Self-Portrait of El Greco, c.1595

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What was it that set the remarkable painter known as El Greco apart from not only his contemporaries but generations of artists to come? Was it his Byzantine background or the Italian influence of artists like Titian? Was it the Mannerist movement which inspired his new interpretation of reality, or the primacy given to color rather than the traditional standard of form? Perhaps El Greco himself made it clear when he famously stated that “I paint because the spirits whisper madly inside my... Read More

  • El Greco...and the Whispering Spirits

As a Young Man El Greco Traveled to Venice and Studied Under Titian, Who was the Most Renowned Painter of His Day

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Born on Crete in 1541 to a wealthy family, art was a natural calling to the young Greek. By his early twenties, El Greco had conquered his Byzantine roots, producing religious icons worthy of the title of Master. Seeking further inspiration and instruction, the young Dominikos Theotokopoulos set sail for Venice, where he came under the tutelage of the renowned Titian, finding a passing answer to his passion in the lush and textured surfaces of the Venetian Renaissance and the works of... Read More

  • El Greco...and the Whispering Spirits

Dominikos Theotokopoulos, Better Known as El Greco, Moved to Toledo in 1577

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Finding little favor in Italy, El Greco continued to Spain in 1576, where King Phillip II dismissed his talent at court. It was in Toledo that El Greco finally found both his earthen and spiritual home, where his passion for spiritualism was abundantly met and that his search for the innate divine in all things led to inspired choices in technique and representation that would forever set El Greco apart, and ultimately, foster the Spanish Renaissance. As a free thinker, El Greco inspired fellow... Read More

  • El Greco...and the Whispering Spirits

The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception at the Prado

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As El Greco evolved fully from his early mastery of Byzantine devotional art to exemplify an extraordinary assimilation of elements of the Venetian Renaissance and the Mannerist style, he devoted the majority of his later work to the religious mysticism of Spain. Finding success in commissioned works like The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, he flourished under the patronage of the Dean of Toledo Cathedral. His visionary talent bloomed as his workshop grew busy with commissions for... Read More

  • El Greco...and the Whispering Spirits

El Greco Painted this Masterpiece of Christ Healing the Blind, in Venice Where he Worked After Leaving Crete in 1567

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A skilled architect and sculptor, El Greco left an incalculable legacy of visionary art in the domains of Toledo, but not until his rediscovery in the late 1800s would he get his full dues as the premier painter of Spanish mysticism and one of the finest painters of Western Art. His work would alter the path of painters like Picasso and Modigliani, inspire poets, writers, and the Cubists while predating Expressionism by 300 years. El Greco’s artistic identity and methods defied labeling,... Read More

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