Exploring all the available sources, this study, which until now was only available in Greek, presents us with an account of El Greco’s life up to the time he left Crete for Italy in 1567 at the age of twenty-six, already an accomplished professional painter. Nikolaos Panagiotakes provides a thorough assessment of earlier research on Crete of the 16th century then goes on to present new conclusions on the life of El Greco deriving from the author’s firsthand reading of Venetian archive material, including questions relating to his birthplace, family, name, religious affiliation, and apprenticeship as a painter. The evidence indicates that El Greco was an established professional ‚master painter‘ earlier than had previously been thought and also that he had a family before leaving Crete, thus perhaps explaining why he did not later marry JerÃ³nima de las Cuevas, with whom he had a son in Toledo. This work marks a valuable contribution to El Greco scholarship, particularly in its thoroughly substantiated assessment of the evidence regarding the formative years in the life of El Greco, one of the greatest of all European artists.
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