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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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El Greco was a deeply religious and emotional man, which can be seen vividly through his bold painting style, but what more do we know about the man himself? Several quotes have been attributed to the artist and are listed below.

Most famous artists from the past few centuries have tended to be emotional and opinionated, also regularly with somewhat unique views on the world. Quotations can help us to decide who fits into that category and you will see below that El Greco himself was a deep thinking man who saw art as much more than just the depiction of what one sees with the eye.

Famous Quotes by El Greco

I paint because the spirits whisper madly inside my head.

I suffer for my art and despise the witless moneyed scoundrels who praise it.

The language of art is celestial in origin and can only be understood by the chosen.

It is only after years of struggle and deprivation that the young artist should touch color - and then only in the company of his betters.

Artists create out of a sense of desolation. The spirit of creation is a excruciating, intricate exploration from within the soul.

I was created by the all powerful God to fill the universe with my masterpieces.

Art is everywhere you look for it, hail the twinkling stars for they are God's careless splatters.

You must study the Masters but guard the original style that beats within your soul and put to sword those who would try to steal it.

Quotes about El Greco by Art Historians and Famous Artists

El Greco was disdained by the immediate generations after his death because his work was opposed in many respects to the principles of the early baroque style which came to the fore near the beginning of the 17th century and soon supplanted the last surviving traits of the 16th-century Mannerism.

Encyclopædia Britannica

In 1908, Spanish art historian Manuel Bartolomé Cossío published the first comprehensive catalogue of El Greco's works; in this book El Greco was presented as the founder of the Spanish School.[82] The same year Julius Meier-Graefe, a scholar of French Impressionism, traveled in Spain, expecting to study Velásquez, but instead becoming fascinated by El Greco; he recorded his experiences in Spanische Reise (Spanish Journey, published in English in 1926), the book which widely established El Greco as a great painter of the past "outside a somewhat narrow circle".


The importance of imagination and intuition over subjective characterization was a fundamental principle in El Greco's style, allowing him the freedom to discard such classical criteria as measure and proportion. Instead, he employed techniques such as radical foreshortening to challenge perceptions of the norm.

The Art Story