Friday, March 22, 2013

El Greco

Marie-Madeleine pénitente (La Penitencia de Maria Magdalena)
oil on canvas
108 x101 cm
Worcester Art Museum, USA

El Greco (1541 - 1614) was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance.
He was born on Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art.
He is the most unusual painter in 16th-century Europe. He combined the strict Byzantine style of his homeland, Greece, with influences received during his studies in Venice and the medieval tradition of the country where he worked, Spain.
His painting style always gave rise to much discussion. Proud and independent El Greco, who always signed his pictures by his Greek name, demanded constant self-assertion but he was valued and respected by the intellectuals of Toledo , being regarded as a "Man of eccentric habits and ideas, of tremendous determination, extraordinary reticence, and extreme devoutness".

El Greco did not have followers, and his art was forgotten for 300 years. The re-discovery of his painting was a sensation; he became one of the most popular masters of the past, his painting rose the interest of collectors, artists, lovers of art and art historians. El Greco is now regarded as one of the most important representatives of European Mannerism.