Starting out as a traditional Byzantine icon painter in Greece, the artist known as El Greco (1541–1614) had loftier ambitions. He headed to Venice, where he befriended Renaissance icons Titian and Tintoretto, and then on to Rome, his paintings a golden ticket into the pope’s inner circle. After years in Italy, the artist re-settled in Toledo, Spain, where he created his finest work. This unprecedented exhibition, which follows El Greco from beginnings in Greece to grandeur in Spain, has but one stop in the U.S.—this one, at the Art Institute of Chicago. —E.C.
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