El Greco Renaissance painter


  • In the year 1541, El Greco was born on the island Crete with the name Domenikos Theotokopoulos.
  • The name El Greco translates from Italian to "The Greek".
  • El Greco spent a large majority of his life in Spain after travelling around Italy for numerous years.
  • El Greco trained as a disciple to Titian, and studied the works of Tintoretto and even Michelangelo.
  • Because he disliked Michelangelo so passionately, El Greco offered to repaint the Sistine Chapel himself.
  • He spent much of his lifetime travelling, learning different techniques from studying the works of other artists as El Greco moved around.
  • El Greco painted, and three pieces of his work are The Adoration of the Shepherds, The Vision of Saint John, and Portrait of a Nobleman.
  • El Greco had a multitude of patrons, but one notable patron is King Phillip II of Spain, who denied El Greco’s patronage due to his paintings lacking narrative clarity.
  • El Greco relates to the ideas of Classicism and Humanism, as themes of it can be seen throughout his art.

Chosen Piece of Work

  • The name of the piece is Saint Andrew by El Greco.
  • The painting was estimated to have been created in 1610.
  • This piece can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • The piece used darker colors in the background to draw attention towards the main part, Apostle Andrew.
  • In the piece, a follower of Jesus known as Andrew is stood atop a hill, clad in green robes. Strapped to his back is the x-shaped cross he was crucified on, while behind him is a gloomy stormy landscape perhaps signifying something ominous soon to happen. Saint Andrew’s hand is extended as if to ask someone for their point of view/opinion.
  • I feel as if this work well portrays classicism, because it makes callbacks to people and themes which existed more than a millennia prior to the creation of the painting, embodying the origins of Christianity.
  • I find this piece interesting not only because the saint shares his name with me but also because his facial expression makes Andrew look like he is presenting a question and is yearning for an answer, as if he is alive behind the canvas.

Works Cited

El Greco. Saint Andrew. 1610. Library.artsor.org. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spain.

OSMOND, SUSAN. "El Greco: The Earthly Transfigured." World and I, Jan. 2004, p. 92. Gale Biography In Context, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GPS&sw=w&u=bedf0311&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA111908036&it=r&asid=4126ad4b71168d6d22357782868f9c50. Accessed 5 Dec. 2016.

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