(b. 1541, Candia, d. 1614, Toledo)

The Dormition of the Virgin

before 1567
Tempera and gold on panel, 61,4 x 45 cm
Holy Cathedral of the Dormition of the Virgin, Ermoupolis, Syros

El Greco' signature on the base of the central candelabrum was discovered in 1983. This discovery constituted a significance advance in the understanding of El Greco's early career and formation. In both its iconography and technique the painting demonstrates the artist's origins and training in the traditions of post-Byzantine painting.

The icon, which retains its function as an object of veneration in the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin on the island of Syros in the Aegean Sea south-east of Athens, was probably brought to Syros during the Greek Revolution in 1824 from the Monastery of the Holy Mountain of the Dormition of the Virgin on the island of Psará in the Aegean. The icon conforms closely to the established pattern for this subject, which was very common in the Orthodox Church in which El Greco was raised.