Human anatomy in the paintings of Dominikos Theotokopoulos - El Greco (1541-1614)

Konstantinos Laios, Marilita M. Moschos, George Androutsos


The peculiar style of Dominikos Theotokopoulos’ paintings of his last period, with the special characteristic of the elongated human figures, has raised a heated debate which has lasted more than a century. Many scholars tried to identify an ocular pathology and especially astigmatism in this painter in order to interpret his style, and also other pathologies have been proposed as the reason for this elongation, such as a mental disease expressing the symptoms of graphomania and ecography, hashish addiction and Marfan’s syndrome. On the other hand art historians reject any ‘medical’ theories, believing that in his works there are many elements of mannerism and one of them is this elongation, but many physicians insist to find a pathology beneath this deformation, which is discussed in this paper.


Dominikos Theotokopoulos; astigmatism; mental disease; mannerism; spiritualism

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