Cretan-born painter, sculptor, and architect who settled in Spain and
is regarded as the first great genius of the Spanish School.
He was known as El Greco (the Greek), but his real name was
Domenikos Theotocopoulos; and it was thus that he signed his paintings
throughout his life, always in Greek characters, and sometimes followed
by Kres (Cretan).
Little is known of his youth, and only a few works survive by him in
the Byzantine tradition of icon painting, notably the recently discovered
Dormition of the Virgin
(Church of the Koimesis tis Theotokou, Syros).
In 1566 he is referred to in a Cretan document as a master painter;
soon afterwards he went to Venice (Crete was then a Venetian possession),
then in 1570 moved to Rome. The miniaturist Giulio Clovio, whom he
met there, described him as a pupil of
but of all the Venetian painters
influenced him most, and
impact on his development was also important.