His name was Domenicos Theotocopulos, but because they found it hard to pronounce, Spaniards called him simply El Greco, The Greek. He was born on the island of Crete in the mid-16th century. At that time, Crete belonged to Venice, with which it had close political and cultural ties, and it was in Venice that Greco was able to study under Titian.
He later travelled to Spain, where he thought that King Philip II, who was building the Escorial, might offer him work. However his paintings were not to the king’s liking and he ended up settling in Toledo, where he lived comfortably until his death in 1614.
His style is very unusual and it became more distinct as his career progressed. The importance he gave to colour reflected the influence of the Venetian school. As he evolved, he used stronger and more strident colours, and while his figures became more elongated, with smaller heads, in what is known as the Mannerist style.
In this Holy Trinity, which he painted for the monastery of Santo Domingo el Antiguo in Toledo, one can see the influence of two great artists: Durer, one of whose engravings served as his inspiration, and Michelangelo, to be seen in the robust, sculpture-like figure of Christ. Bright colours feature strongly, as in the yellow mantle of God the Father, whose head is covered with a mitre, like a typical figure from the Old Testament.
(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns
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