Crete was a Venetian colony when, in 1541, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, as El Greco never ceased to sign himself, was born there. He trained as an icon painter in a local variant of the archaic Byzantine manner, whose rigid formulas were aimed less at representing the divine than at magically summoning it. In Venice for three years, from the age of twenty-six, he assimilated the most advanced painting of the day: Titian, Tintoretto, Bassano. Venetian painterly rhetoric—bodies in dramatic motion, open brushwork, clarion color—imprinted on him, but without changing his metaphysics. He failed to start a career in Rome, where he seems to have burned bridges by disparaging Michelangelo, whose carnal sublimity—submerging the spirit in straining muscles—was bound to affront the young Greek. El Greco reportedly offered to repaint "The Last Judgment" in a more seemly manner. Still, he picked up tricks of composition from Michelangelo, as witness the rhythmic aggregate of contorted bodies in his several versions of "The Purification of the Temple"—Jesus scourging the sacrilegious. He was a quick study.