By the standards of the 16th century Mediterranean, Domenicos Theotokopoulos’s origins were somewhat unusual. As his name indicates, he came from a Greek island in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was Crete, a dependency of Venice at the time. He was trained in the pictorial traditions of the Eastern Church, which had preserved its practices and aesthetics through all the centuries of the so-called ‘Dark’ and Middle Ages. Few of the astonishing developments in the visual arts of Italy and Western Europe had percolated through to his remote homeland, and he had learned to see the world through the intensely spiritualised eyes of Orthodox Christianity. Figures were presented in time-honoured poses and costumes, always recognisable and rapt in awe of a pervasive epiphany, the manifestation of God in historical, that is, Biblical and legendary actions and narratives.