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El Greco

The finest exhibits in the Historical Museum of Crete are the only two works by El Greco on display in Crete: the View of Mt. Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine (1570) and the Baptism of Christ (1567).

Domenicos Theotocopoulos or El Greco was born in Chandax (Heraklion) in 1541. It was a time in which the influence of the European Renaissance created an extremely favourable climate for the arts and literature on Crete. Obviously influenced by that climate, Domenicos turned to art, where he made a name for himself while still young.

Before reaching the age of thirty he travelled to Italy, in search of knowledge and new trends in his art. There he spent about a decade, initially in Venice and later in Rome. Specialists have dated both of the paintings on display in the Historical Museum of Crete to this Italian period in his life. In 1576 Greco left for Spain, where he settled permanently until the end of his life, in 1614. More biographical information on the Cretan painter can be gained from two touch screens, which also allow visitors to focus on details in the two paintings, or on interesting comparisons with other works of the same period.