Understanding the Artwork of Domenikos Theotokopoulos
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View of Toledo
Like many historical artists, it is impossible to understand the artwork of Domenikos Theotokopoulus without understanding his historical context. Theotokopoulus received the nickname El Greco, which means the Greek, during his lifetime, and this nickname reveals a significant detail about his identity as a man, as well as his identity as an artist. This was because his nationality played an important role in his artwork, so that his nationality could almost be described as synonymous with his work during that time. "The Mediterranean world of the sixteenth century- the world of El Greco- was a world in which three civilisations coexisted, interacted and clashed: the Latin West; the Greek Orthodox East; and the civilization of Islam. As a Cretan, and hence a subject of Venice, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known as El Greco (1541-1614), belonged both to the Greek East and to Latin Christendom. He and his generation lived much of their lives in the shadow of the confrontation between Christendom and Islam." View of Toledo, which is El Greco's only pure landscape, is a wonderful example of this cultural clash that highlighted El Greco's artistry, and it provides a stark example of this confrontation between cultures, as it features a dramatic difference between the earth and the sky in the landscape of Toledo, Spain.
El Greco was born in the Greek island of Crete. Although he engaged in other forms of art, El Greco was best known as a painter, particularly a