El Greco. Pictures: history and description
One of the few old masters, which today enjoys great popularity, is El Greco. His paintings took an honorable place among the works of eminent artists. El Greco's masterpieces delighted many of his contemporaries, and after the death of the maestro, many followers appeared who adopted the technique of a talented painter.
Crete, or Creation of religious canvases
El Greco was born on the island of Crete. This piece of the Mediterranean belonged to a rich Venetian "empire". The rulers of this power subjected terror and enslaved local residents. They were interested in the Orthodox Greek churches. Byzantines allowed the icon painters of Crete to create religious paintings in the traditional Byzantine style.
At the age of twenty-five, El Greco began to create altar images. Cretan artists borrowed the style of Italian masters. So there was a mixed Greco-Venetian style, which was manifested in the first work of El Greco. This damaged icon is in the church on the island of Syros. It depicts the death of the Holy Virgin Mary. But Crete was small, and the artist's ambitions were great. El Greco, whose pictures, in his opinion, could not become popular in his homeland, decides to leave the island.
The period of life and creativity in Venice
He moved to Venice in 1567 year and there he began mastering the elements of Renaissance painting. Among his best works of this period is "Christ heals the blind." This topic was especially popular during the Counter-Reformation, because the healing of blindness was a symbol of the revelation of true faith. The Catholic Church tried to restore its former power by creating a movement called the Reformation. And El Greco, being a religious man, became one of the most influential artists of this plan.
After staying in Venice for three years, the master went to the south - to the center of Catholic and classical culture (Rome), where he worked with 1570 for 1576. He arrived with a letter of introduction from the Croatian miniaturist Giulio Clovio, which provided him with a room for living and working in the palace of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who was the richest and most influential patron in all of Rome.
Unsuccessful career in Rome, or criticism of Michelangelo
Of course, this city made a great impression on El Greco. The paintings he writes during this period are custom-made portraits, small prayer cloths and sculptures created for higher-ranking clients. He smiles luck and even manages to earn some money. But one of the reasons why El Greco did not reach popularity in Rome and did not find important patrons is his criticism of Michelangelo, who was considered a highly respected person in this city.
In 1576, El Greco again travels. He decides to move to Spain and appear in the service of King Philip the Second. The church and the royal court of this country patronized art. The city in which El Greco settled is Toledo. It was there that he remained until the end of his days.
The city that became the last refuge of the artist
When the artist arrived in Spain, he was thirty-six. Toledo was the cultural center of the country, and soon El Greco felt at home. It was at this time that the city was completely rebuilt. The streets were expanded, new buildings were erected, the most important of which was the Cathedral. And the first order the artist received here. It's about the epic canvas "Removing Clothes from Christ." This is El Greco's first masterpiece.
His paintings finally become popular. Moreover, the artist finds his own style. Images become not only narrative, but also dynamic. El Greco picks up vibrant and vivid colors. He was lucky, and he had the first serious customer, and then his work attracted the attention of the king himself.
A work written by Philip's order
What did El Greco paint for Philip? The description of his further creative path reports that the artist received an order to create an altar image called "Martyrdom of St. Maurice." At the bottom of the picture you can see Mauritius himself, dressed in blue armor and discussing with the soldiers the possibility of a battle. But another fate awaited him.
In the left part of the canvas the viewer again sees the main character looking at what is happening, then him, but naked, bent in prayer, and finally decapitated. Immediately noticeable, how strong was the influence of the Venetian masters on El Greco. But Philip the Second did not take this picture in the idea of an image for the altar, but included it in his personal collection.
Creation of El Greco, or Paintings for Little Chapels
At the age of forty-two, the artist was engaged in writing paintings for small churches and chapels. And what about the other paintings of El Greco, whose names are familiar to many art lovers? It was during this period that the most famous creation of the painter, "The Burial of Count Orgas" was created. It was a nobleman who lived in the fourteenth century. During his funeral a miracle happened: St. Stephen and Augustine descended from heaven and lowered the deceased into a coffin. And the masterpiece mentioned by us just represents this story.
We briefly reviewed the biography of the talented El Greco. His paintings are always very large in content. No wonder his work, rediscovered in the nineteenth century, had an impact on the artists of that time. And for today this person is considered one of the greatest painters of the world scale.