El Greco Greek-born Spanish Mannerist Painter, 1541-1614
Considered a representative of late Renaissance Spanish art, El Greco was actually born in Greece, on the island of Crete. After studying in Venice under Titian, El Greco settled in Toledo, Spain in 1577. At the time he was wildly popular, his emotionally religious paintings being just the ticket for the hometown of the Spanish Inquisition. After his death his work was largely ignored until the beginning of the 20th century; now he considered one of the inspired geniuses of Western art. His distinctive style features bold shapes and colors, with elongated and slightly distorted figures.
In Toledo El Greco was in constant demand and liked living large: he maintained a private orchestra to accompany his meals. Apostles Peter and Paul 1587-92, oil on canvas, The Hermitage at St. Petersburg