Born with the name Doménikos Theotokópoulos on the island of Crete in 1541, El Greco (which translates to “The Greek”) is considered one of the masters of the Spanish Renaissance. Both a painter and a sculptor, he moved to Venice, Italy around the age of 20 to study under Titian. This is where El Greco learned the fundamental characteristics of Renaissance painting. This is best evidenced in his painting, The Miracle of Christ Healing the Blind (1570).
In 1570, El Greco moved to Rome, Italy where he joined the painters’ academy but had little success due to past criticism of Michelangelo’s artistic skills. By 1576, he had chosen to move to Spain and settled in Toledo. He was commissioned to paint the altar of the church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo. The results were some of his biggest masterpieces, The Trinity (1579), The Assumption of the Virgin (1579), and The Disrobing of Christ (1579). Perhaps his most celebrated work was The Burial of Count Orgaz (1588). El Greco’s work was distinctive because of his exaggerated and distorted figures, often stretched way beyond what was actually possible, as well as his wild color choices. He died in 1614.