Domenikos Theotokópoulos says Gréco. (1541 - 1614).
It is one of largest representing mannerism. Although it of Greek origin and was born in Candie in Crete, Spanish painting owes him its world fame. There exists little of information on its childhood and its formation before its departure for Italy. It drew certainly its first inspirations in Greece in the workshop of a painter of icons. The purpose of the painters of icon were of incarner the world of the spirit in their art, and this approach will be that of Greco in all its career. It remains in Rome of 1570 to 1572.
It maintenance at that time of the close links with the Spanish clergy and for this reason it leaves for Tolède where it receives orders of the church, it remains in Tolède until the end of its life. Philippe II is the first to entrust the execution of a retable to him. The unusual promptness of the colors at the time make that work of Gréco will run up against criticism and the refusal.
It is known that the painter was humanistic and had a significant library for the time. Its work is marked by the ideas of against reform and by the doctrines of the Spanish mystics that transmit to him his/her Luis friends of Góngora there Argote and Hortensio y Arteaga. The oldest fabrics of Gréco, even if their attribution is prone to discussions testify to the byzantine influence of its first formation in Greece (Worship of the Shepherds 1567) especially they point out paintings of Madonneri whose images of saints were very appreciated in Greece.
At Greco, any group is arranged around a central hearth. In the various versions of the Worship of the shepherds, only one source of light, the Jesus Child, gives gleam to the faces around, and plunge the backs in the shade.
About 1570 it paints several versions of Saint François Stigmatisé in whom already the elements characteristic of Gréco
appear : indistinct contours, the impassioned expression of the gestures and faces. At the end of 1570 Gréco receives its first great orders in
Spain : the high altar of the convent San Domingo el Antiguo in Tolède (1577).
The characters of the tables are impressed monumental aspect of the Italian models. The principal work of its first years with Tolède is Espolio, Christ Stripped Of Her Clothing (1577-1579). It is about a composition of mass. Gréco develops a new space design and very characteristic, completely different from the universe of the prospect such as had conceived the Rebirth. The prospect is replaced by an organization symbolic system for the pictorial elements simply on the surface.
The plans are clearly divided by a rather geometrical diagram of aspect. That its paintings have as a decoration a church or a landscape, Greco neglects the depth of field, preferring to suggest a vertical course. Ground towards the sky. A way all the more obliged since
here nothing is stable : the hills seem surging seas and the rocks rock like tectonic plates.
In his most famous fabric (the Burial Of the Count D' Orgaz) about 1586, one sees represented the legend of the appearance of Auguste saint and Etienne saint at the time of the burial of the count in 1323. Those bury the count and behind them of many men vêtus of blacks are recognizable characters; with the top of them opens to the sky with the saints Christ, Marie and holy
Jean-baptiste awaiting the heart of the count that an angel in the form of child brings to them. In the sky, between the floating celestial creatures, one distinguishes a vacuum in form from funnel, threshold between the life and death, the matter and the spirit. The coloured light highlights the figures taking part in the moment of the passage between the terrestrial life and the immaterial one. It is a painting impressed of a strong spirituality that all average the techniques must be useful. One feels here clearly a mystical atmosphere, near to that presents in the writings of the saints.
From 1590 the work of Gréco knows a phase of transformation whose principal topic is the Passion of Christ. The compositions of mass disappear with the profit from smaller images of devotion which represent the human being in suffering. The gestural language is like subject with the extase and the faces of the characters lengthen to the extreme. Greco lengthens certainly gradually the bodies, but especially dematerializes them, more finally to announce them only by costumes, the human character of the characters grows blurred, their weight like the features of their face.
Between the material and the immaterial one, fire lights and consumes.
The spiritual expression of the saints is underlined by dark colors.
About 1600 a new period begins, the colors are again more luminous, the range of the topics is
Happy episodes, illustrating the repurchase of mankind by Christ become her favorite subjects. However the pictorial fitting all on the surface remains and the characters are often seen of below. It is of this time that date the sight of Tolède towards 1599 which represents the city in a strange atmosphere of storm full with mystery. Gréco composes its fabrics starting from small cubic volumes which precede a little the art of Paul Cézanne. Its blow of brush is very on. From 1607 the compositions with several characters reappear, the fabrics become again darker. The last open seem to testify to a will of the artist to go towards a greater simplification, with the service of a quasi mystical exaltation. The figuration is shortened, even reduced to essence necessary to the identification. Space, geometrical, parcelled out, as well as the figures, are treated in a total way.
The lights appear almost unreal.