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.
'The first and most obvious contribution of this book is that it comprehensively summarizes all prior scholarship on the problem, not only making available in English what was first published in Greek, but also rereading each and every previously published document, putting them into context in order to extract from them as much information as possible. Second, building on a deep knowledge of every aspect of Cretan economic, social, and intellectual history, Panagiotakes's book offers an exhaustive discussion of such problems as El Greco’s family background, his religious affiliation, and, particularly, his apprenticeship… this elegantly written and translated book unquestionably constitutes an important contribution to one of the most fascinating biographies of the Renaissance.' Sixteenth Century Journal
Contents: Preface, Nicos Hadjinicolaou; Introduction: education and culture in Venetian Crete; Part I The Story So Far: Prior to 1961; Maistro Menegos; The final Cretan year. Part II New Discoveries: An injunction; Family background; Religious affiliation; Apprenticeship; The Vlastos portrait; A new document; Appendices; Bibliography; Select publications since 1990; Index.
Initiated in 1993 as an extension of the activities of the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King's College London, this series covers all aspects of Greek culture and civilization. The volumes published to date present a broad range of topics from ancient to modern, including the papers of several international symposia held at KCL. Titles deal with the history and image of Alexandria, the image of Socrates across the centuries, the early years of El Greco, the making of Modern Greece, Greek-Turkish relations in modern times, and the history of Greek photography. Volumes recently published or in preparation cover the reign of the 12th-century Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos, the politics behind Lord Byron’s intervention in the Greek Revolution in the 1820s and Greek art music since the early 19th century.
For further information about the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]