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El Greco

Crete 1541 - 1614 Toledo
Price range
500,000 – 3,000,000 USD +
El Greco is seen as a forerunner of modern art, rediscovered by artists such as Manet, Cézanne and Picasso.

Heavily influenced by the colorism of Venetian Renaissance paintings, El Greco moved from Crete to living most of his life in Spain, where he produced paintings characterized by their electrifying colors and spirit of mysticism. El Greco was born in Crete, then part of the Venetian republic and his earliest paintings are in the medieval Greek Byzantine style. Aged 26 he moved to Venice, then to Rome in 1570, then in 1577 to Toledo in Spain where he was to remain. In Venice he absorbed the work of Titian (1488/90–1576), Tintoretto (1519–94) and Jacopo Bassano (ca. 1510–92). The impact of Tintoretto in particular is obvious in the various versions of Christ and the Money Changers. During his sojourn at Rome he could study Michelangelo and his numerous followers.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

7,999,491 $
9,226,870 $
13,972,070 $


The sales are: Christie’s London – 6 July 2023 lot 21, Christie’s London – 7 December 2017 lot 14 (6,871,250 GBP), and Sotheby’s London – 3 Jul 2013 lot 19 (9,154,500 GBP).
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Further explore
Notable exhibitions

Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, El Greco: Ambition and Defiance, 7 March – 19 October 2020. Curated by Rebecca Long.

Paris, Grand Palais, Greco, 16 October 2019 – 10 February 2020. Curated by Guillaume Kientz.

Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, El Greco and Modern Painting, 24 June – 5 October 2014. Curated by Javier Barón Thaidigsmann.

Madrid, Museo del Prado, El Greco of Toledo, 1 April – 6 June 1982; travelled to Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, 2 July – 6 September 1982; Ohio, Toledo Museum of Art, 26 September – 21 November 1982; Texas, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 12 December 1982 – 6 February 1983. Curated by Jonathan Brown, William B. Jordan, Richard L. Kagan, and Alfonso E. Perez Sanchez.


Books on El Greco

Rebecca J Long, ed., El Greco: Ambition and Defiance, exh. cat., Chicago, 2020.

Fernando Marías, El Greco: Life and Work – A New History, London, 2019.

Gianna Manzini and Tiziana Frati, L’Opera Completa del Greco, Milan, 1978.

Antonio Palomino de Castro y Lelasco, Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors, 1715-24, trans. Nina Alaya Mallory, Cambridge, 1987.

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