El Greco

El Greco was born Domenikos Theotokópoulos in Crete, 1541. ‘El Greco’ actually means ‘The Greek’, and is a direct reference to his heritage. There have been debates on his origin as many countries don’t want to associate with him; so Spain has claimed him. There have also been doubts on his religion as some sources claim he comes from a Roman Catholic background and education but there have been no records found.
Around 1566, he went to Venice.   In 1570, Domenikos travelled to Rome where he may have met Michelangelo. There his work showed hints of his Venetian background. In Italy he was known as El Greco, the name by which he is most commonly referred to.   There is no record of how long he stayed in Italy but it is believed he returned to Venice before heading for Spain. El Greco moved to Spain in 1577. In Toledo El Greco was in constant demand and liked living large. He maintained a private orchestra to accompany his meals. No one knows what led the artist to move to Spain.
El Greco's father, Geórgios Theotokópoulos, was a merchant and tax collector. Nothing is known about his mother or his first wife, a Greek woman.   El Greco's older brother, Manoússos Theotokópoulos, was also a wealthy merchant and spent the last years of his life in El Greco's Toledo home. El Greco fell seriously ill in March of 1614 and a month later, on April 7, 1614, he died. A few days earlier, on March 31, he had directed that his son should have the power to make his will.
One thing is very similar about all of El Greco’s paintings: his religious beliefs. His work depicts important events spoken of in the bible. His pieces are almost mystical in a sense and are as realistic as pictures. His style mostly includes lots of color, what he is known for, and extreme amounts of shading.

Portrait of An Old Man
Presumed self-portrait of El Greco. This piece is particulary dark with the usual crafty shading. Also, it was done on an oil canvas.

The Dormition of the Virgin