Domenikos Theotokopoulos, better known as “El Greco” (1541-1614), dominated late sixteenth-century painting with works that were both backward-looking and avant-garde. Blending the Byzantine style that dominated his youth with the exuberance of contemporary Italian maniera, El Greco conjured an expressive body of work that has enjoyed renewed appreciation in recent centuries and also has become the subject of the digital volume The Complete Works of El Greco.
A native of Crete, El Greco enjoyed early artistic training in the post-Byzantine style of the Cretan School. He carried these ideals with him to Venice in the 1560s, which can be seen in works such as The Dormition of the Virgin (before 1567), but his relocation to Rome the decade following initiated a dramatic shift in his approach. His works suddenly became more dynamic and emotive, and he also began to experiment to a greater extent with his compositions, considering ways in which he could maintain a Byzantine sensibility while also responding to contemporary artistic trends. This experimentation grew when the artist moved once more to Spain in 1577.
There he would stay until the end of his career, a roughly thirty-year time span during which El Greco created some of his most iconic paintings. From The Assumption of the Virgin (1577-1579) to The Burial of Count Orgaz (1586-1588), these late works reveal the pinnacle of El Greco’s creativity in blending old and new styles to create a surprisingly modern approach. This evolution and many of these later masterworks are the focal point of this digital volume, which is now available for purchase on Musebooks.