ICON PAINTING IN VENETIAN CRETE
through February 27, 2010
El Greco was born Domenikos Theotokopoulos in 1541 in Crete, at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the centre of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before travelling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577 he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best known paintings. To read more about El Greco, Click Here
A review of this unique exhibition by Mary Tomkins Lewis for the Wall Street Journal gives us valuable background to the artist, and the Crete of those years:
A superb example of this graceful hybrid genre is the late-15th-century panel of "Christ and the Woman of Samaria," cautiously attributed in the scholarly exhibition catalog to Nikolas Tzafouris (c. 1455-1500), a painter renowned for his mastery of several manners as well as his miniaturist technique. Its stylized, rocky bluffs are typical of Byzantine landscapes and hold an episodic, New Testament narrative that is found on the walls of many Greek monasteries, but these are framed with views of cities, grassy hills and brilliant blue skies borrowed from 14th-century Tuscany.