The Cretan Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco)
The world renowned painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos, aka "El Greco" (The Greek), was born in Fodele of Heraklion Crete in 1541. He studied in the dependency of the Monastery of Sinai, in Heraklion (St. Catherine's church, now a museum). He was twenty years old when he went to Venice where he studied painting under Tiziano. In 1570 he arrived in Rome as an established artist. It was during this period of his life that he made the statement that 'if the frescoes of Michelangelo in Cappella Sistina were ruined he could paint them much better.'
He later went to Spain, it is not known exactly when but in 1577 he was already in Toledo, where, for 30 years he was considered the greatest artist of Spain, although he never forgot his country of birth which is evidenced by the fact that he always signed his paintings in Greek under the name : "Kris" (Cretan).
In Spain, free from Italian influences he created his finest works, including "The Burial of Count Orgkath" (1587), a masterpieces of painting. Very important among his 500 paintings are the portraits which whilst on the one hand depict a realistic portrayal of the subject, on the other hand capture the inner emotions of human nature.
During his llifetime, El Greco made a lot of money, which allowed him to live very comfortably and financially support his fellow Greeks and their causes as well as others who were needy and downtrodden by life. In art, he was always liberal and this is shown in his paintings which are not subject to the rules imposed by tradition. El Greco died in Toledo in Spain in 1614
In the central square of Heraklion, is a park bearing his name with a bust of him erected in the park's square. In Fodele there is a commemorative plaque of the Spanish University of Valladolid , which testifies the gratitude of Spain to the birthplace of El Greco.