Famous Painters – Looking at the Best Artists of All Time

History is full of famous painters who have left behind their artistic legacies. From the master painters from before the 19th century to the influential artists of the modern era, today we will look at some of the best artists of all time. These famous artists have all contributed masterpieces to their various movements and styles. Our list will include famous painters from around the world, such as famous French painters, famous Spanish painters, famous American artists, and other international trendsetters.

 

 

The Most Famous Painters of All Time

In this list, we will attempt to cover the best artists of all time, from famous portrait artists, to landscape painters, and many other famous artists from various artistic schools. These influential artists are still respected and copied by other artists around the globe. Many of them did not follow styles, but created them, while others perfected them. So let’s dive right in!

 

Giotto Di Bondone (1267 – 1337)

Nationality of Artist Italian
Lived In Florence, Italy
Mediums Known For Architecture, Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Proto-Renaissance

Giotto di Bondone was born near Florence in 1267 and worked as an architect and painter during the Late Middle Ages, within the Proto-Renaissance period of art. Giovanni Villani once described him as one of the master painters of his era, saying that all of his figure’s postures were naturalistically painted. He was known for being one of the influential artists that turned away from the dominant Byzantine style, thereby helping to initiate a new era of painting realistically that had been lacking for a couple of hundred years.

Early Master PaintersHalf-length portrait of Giotto, Italian painter and architect, engraved on a copperplate by Nicolas de Larmessin; from the book Académie Des Sciences Et Des Arts by Isaac Bullart, 1682; Nicolas de Larmessin and Esme de Boulonois, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The ornamentation of the Scrovegni Chapel, often called the Arena Chapel, in Padua, which was finished about 1305, is Giotto’s opus. The Virgin’s life and Christ’s life are depicted in the fresco cycle. It is considered one of the principal works of the Early Renaissance period. One of the few things known for certain about Giotto’s life is that he created the beautiful Arena Chapel and was picked by the Commune of Florence to construct the bell tower of the Florence Cathedral in 1334.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Kiss of Judas (1306)
  • Lamentation (1396)

Art by Master PaintersLamentation (1396) by Giotto; Giotto, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Jan van Eyck (1390 – 1441)

Nationality of Artist Belgian
Lived In Bruges, Belgium
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Renaissance, Flemish Renaissance

Jan van Eyck was born in Maaseik in 1390 but was most active as a painter in the city of Bruges. His innovations within the art world led to him becoming one of the early influential artists of Early Netherlandish and Northern Renaissance art. He began working in The Hague in the year 1422. At that time he had multiple apprentices and was already considered one of the master painters.

Famous Portrait ArtistPortrait of a Man in a Red Turban (1433, a supposed self-portrait by Jan van Eyck; Jan van Eyck, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

He was then made the court-appointed painter of the ruler of Holland, John III the Pitiless. After he died in the year 1425, he was once again appointed by another royal, the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good. Around twenty pieces of artwork have been attributed to him, and they all come from the period between 1432 and 1439. Half of these contain his name which was usually painted with Greek characters.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • The Arnolfini Portrait (1434)
  • Ghent Altarpiece (1432)

Most Famous Portrait Artists of All TimeThe Arnolfini Portrait (1434) by Jan van Eyck; Jan van Eyck, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)

Nationality of Artist Italian
Lived In Italy and France
Mediums Known For Engineer, Painter, Draughtsman
Movements Associated with Artist Italian Renaissance, High Renaissance

Leonardo da Vinci was not only one of the master painters of all time, but also an extremely influential person who was involved in many endeavors such as science, engineering, architecture, and art. Despite being known at first for his artwork, it was his journals that brought fame and recognition from the public at large. These journals contained notes and sketches on a multitude of subjects such as botany, paleontology, and anatomy.

Drawing of Famous ArtistPortrait of Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1515-1517), attributed to Francesco Melzi; Attributed to Francesco Melzi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

He is regularly cited as being the father of the High Renaissance period. His paintings are considered priceless, and those that have been sold cost the buyers hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire. He is not only one of the most influential artists of all time but is still widely revered for his innovative concepts and designs that were way ahead of their time.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Mona Lisa (1503 – 1516)
  • Salvator Mundi (1499 – 1510)

Portrait Paintings by the Most Famous ArtistsPortrait of Mona Lisa del Giocondo (1503-1506) by Leonardo da Vinci; Leonardo da Vinci, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Raphael (1483 – 1520)

Nationality of Artist Italian
Lived In Urbino, Duchy of Urbino
Mediums Known For Painting, Architecture
Movements Associated with Artist High Renaissance

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino was a Renaissance-era painter and architect from Italy. On April 6th, 1520, he was born in Rome. Historians have frequently praised his work for its clarity of form and skill of composition. Along with Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he is regarded as a member of the “Trinity of Masters.” When he died at the age of 37, he left behind a huge body of work.

Portrait Paintings of Master PaintersPresumed self-portrait of Raphael, aged approximately 23; Raphael, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Raphael studied at Perugia, the capital of Umbria, under the Italian Renaissance painter Perugino before traveling to Florence. He was not only one of the best artists of all time, but also a highly respected architect. He was the main architect for the building of St. Peter’s Basilica for a time, collaborating with Antonio Sangallo.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Sistine Madonna (1513)
  • Transfiguration (1523)

Master Painters ArtworksThe Sistine Madonna (1512-1513) by Raphael; Raphael, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

El Greco (1541 – 1614)

Nationality of Artist Spanish
Lived In Greece and Spain
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Spanish Renaissance

On October 1, 1541, Doménikos Theotokópoulos was born in Crete. El Greco was his nickname, which referred to the artist’s birthplace of Crete. Despite his Greek ancestry, he was regarded as an important figure in the Spanish Renaissance. El Greco studied and mastered post-Byzantine art before embarking on a typical tour of Venice for young Greek painters at the period, at the age of 26.

Self-Portraits of Famous PaintersSelf-portrait of El Greco, titled Portrait of a Man (between 1595 and 1600); El Greco, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1570, he relocated to Rome and established a workshop. During this period, he began to include contemporary painters’ styles, such as Mannerism, as well as aspects of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he relocated to the city of Toledo in Spain, where he would stay until he died in 1614. During this time, he received commissions for many of his most highly renowned works. Although his expressionistic and dramatic approach perplexed his contemporaries, it was later praised by historians and critics of the twentieth century.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • The Dormition of the Virgin (1567)
  • The Adoration of the Magi (1565)

Art of the Master PaintersAdoration of the Magi (between 1565 and 1567) by El Greco; El Greco, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Caravaggio (1571 – 1610)

Nationality of Artist Italian
Lived In Rome, Naples, Sicily
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Baroque, Caravaggisti

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born on September 29, 1571, in Milan. He spent the last few years of his life bouncing between Malte, Naples, and Sicily, having spent the majority of his life in Rome pursuing a career as an artist. The famous Italian’s work had the most impactful influence on other painters of his time in the early days of the formation of the Baroque period, out of all the Italian Baroque painters.

Portraits of the Best Artists of All TimeChalk portrait of Caravaggio by Ottavio Leoni (c. 1621); Ottavio Leoni, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Scholars and other artists praised him for his dramatic and magnificent use of lighting, as well as his realistic depictions of the human condition in terms of mental and physical ailments and sufferings. Caravaggio’s fame grew as a result of his innovative interpretations of classical themes, as well as his technical skill.

The use of an art technique known as Chiaroscuro, which pertains to the dramatic interplay between the light and dark parts of a composition, generally set in extreme contrasting conditions, is a prominent feature of Baroque art.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Supper at Emmaus (1601)
  • David with the head of Goliath (c. 1600)

One of the Best Artists of All TimeDavid with the Head of Goliath (c. 1600) by Caravaggio; Caravaggio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1656)

Nationality of Artist Italian
Lived In Rome and Naples, Italy
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Baroque Art, Feminist

Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the few female Baroque artists among other Italian Baroque painters. Artemisia Gentileschi was born in Rome, Italy on the 8th of July, 1593. Historians consider her to be one of the most highly respected artists of the seventeenth century. She was a talented artist who started her work in the profession at the very early age of fifteen.

Paintings of Famous ArtistsSelf-portrait as Maria Magdalena (c. 1617-1620) by Artemisia Gentileschi; Artemisia Gentileschi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

She paved the path for a generation of female artists that would follow. Her powerful representations of women as mythological, biblical, and historical figures were frequent references to the feminine component of her art. This persistent and driven young lady was the first woman to be admitted to the Accademia di Arte del Disegno. She had a large number of patrons and clients from other countries. She was known for her expertise in employing color to communicate layers of drama and complexity in her compositions, as well as her ability to represent the female body in a genuine and realistic manner.

Some exceptional examples of her work include:

  • Jael and Sisera (1620)
  • Venus and Cupid (1630)

Female Master PaintersJael and Sisera (c. 1620) by Artemisia Gentileschi; Artemisia Gentileschi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Nicolas Poussin (1594 – 1665)

Nationality of Artist French
Lived In France and Italy
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Baroque, Classicism

Nicolas Poussin was one of the famous French painters. He was a classical Baroque artist who was born in 1594 at Les Andelys in Normandy. Despite the fact that he was born in France, he spent the majority of his life in Rome, Italy, where he lived and worked.

Most Famous ArtistsA self-portrait of Nicolas Poussin, 1649; Nicolas Poussin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Before returning to Rome, he painted for Cardinal Richelieu and King Louis XIII in Paris for a short time. Poussin’s art is characterized by the use of order, rationality, and clarity in his compositions, as well as a preference for line over color in his painted landscapes. Poussin is often regarded by academics as the originator of the notion of perfect landscapes, in which the fundamental relationship between humans and their surroundings is artistically explored.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Death of Germanicus (1628)
  • Venus and Adonis (1628)

Famous French PainterVenus and Adonis (c. 1628-1629) by Nicolas Poussin; Nicolas Poussin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Diego Velázquez (1599 – 1660)

Nationality of Artist Spanish
Lived In Seville, Spain
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Baroque

Diego Velázquez was a renowned artist during the Spanish Golden Age and at King Philip IV’s court. He was born in the Spanish city of Seville on the 6th of June, 1599. He was recognized for his various depictions of historically significant events, as well as his portraits of Spanish nobles and commoners, and his work was highly distinctive for the time.

Master PaintersSelf-portrait (c. 1630) by Diego Velázquez; Diego Velázquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 

His style would have a long-lasting impact on the 19th-century Impressionists and Realists. Many of his most famous paintings have been reinterpreted by 20th-century painters such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Francis Bacon. Despite knowing all of the well-known painters of the time, Diego Velázquez was able to preserve and create his own style and set of creative ideas.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Las Meninas (1656)
  • Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1650)

Paintings by Master PaintersLas Meninas (1656) by Diego Velázquez; Diego Velázquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 – 1669)

Nationality of Artist Dutch
Lived In Leiden and Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mediums Known For Painting, Printmaking, Draughtsman
Movements Associated with Artist Baroque, Dutch Golden Age

Rembrandt van Rijn, the Dutch artist, was born in 1606 in the town of Leiden and is most likely the most famous Dutch artist on our list. Born to a family of millers, Rembrandt came to Amsterdam at the age of eighteen to apprentice for the well-known painter, Piter Lastman. He returned to Leiden after six months of apprenticeship with Lastman to begin his painting workshop. Here, he began taking students such as Gerrit Dou, and news of his work and skill spread.

Best Artists of All TimeSelf-Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar (1659) by Rembrandt van Rijn; Rembrandt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1631, he returned to Amsterdam, where he began to get his first significant commissions, such as the painting he made for the patron Nicolaes Tulp. Three years later, in 1634, he was betrothed to Saskia van Uylenburch. Despite his tremendous brilliance and popularity, his latter years were tarnished by terrible circumstances. Due to increasing debts, he had to sell his assets and house after his wife died. He would lose his son, as well as his lover, Henkdrickje Stoffels, in the space of a few years, and he died in poverty in 1669.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • The Night Watch (1642)
  • The Jewish Bride (1665)

Famous Artists PaintingsThe Night Watch (1642) by Rembrandt; Rembrandt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675)

Nationality of Artist Dutch
Lived In Holland
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Baroque, Dutch Golden Age

Johannes Vermeer was a Baroque painter from the Netherlands. His paintings of middle-class life, particularly interior home settings, are well-known. He worked on each painting for a lengthy period of time, taking great care to apply details methodically and without rushing.

Rare Portrait of Master PainterThe only supposed portrait of Johannes Vermeer, from his painting The ProcuressJohannes Vermeer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In his artworks, he is most known for his beautiful and skillful use of light. Vermeer enjoyed minor success throughout his career, receiving considerable reputation in The Hague, but his small paintings were created with especially expensive paint, and he died in debt to his family in December of 1675.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

Most Famous Portrait ArtistGirl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665) by Johannes Vermeer; Johannes Vermeer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Elisabetta Sirani (1638 – 1665)

Nationality of Artist Italian
Lived In Bologna, Holy Roman Empire
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Baroque Art

Elisabetta Sirani was a Baroque period artist who was born on January 8, 1638, in Bologna, a town within the Holy Roman Empire. Elisabetta’s very first apprenticeship would be received from her father in his personal studio since the Sirani’s were a creative family. Giovanni, her father, was a Bologna School artist and art trader. Carlo Cesare Malvasia, an Italian academic and art historian, was frequently credited with persuading her father to provide her with painting lessons.

Self-portrait (c. 1660) by Elisabetta Sirani; Elisabetta Sirani, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

According to some historians, her father was hesitant to educate her in the Bolognese manner, but she was able to catch up on his methods and was quickly regarded as one of the region’s greatest artists. People began to assume she was the reincarnation of the painter from Italy, Guido Reni, and a cult started to surface, based on this belief. Her work has been commended for its professionalism, speed of creation, and uniqueness of its compositions.

Some exceptional examples of her work include:

  • Virgin and Child (1663)
  • Portia Wounding Her Thigh (1664)

Art by Female Master PaintersPortia wounding her thigh (1664) by Elisabetta Sirani; Elisabetta Sirani, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Francisco Goya (1746 -1828)

Nationality of Artist Spanish
Lived In Madrid and Bordeaux
Mediums Known For Painting, Drawing
Movements Associated with Artist Romanticism

Francisco Goya was a painter from Aragon who was born in the town of Fuendetodos. He began studying with José Luzán y Martinez at the age of fourteen and continued his studies in Madrid with Anton Raphael Mengs. For his contributions to the Romanticism movement, he was named court painter to the Spanish Crown in 1786. As a result, much of his early work consists of commissioned portraits of the Spanish monarchy and aristocracy.

Portrait Paintings of Famous ArtistsSelf portrait with spectacles (19th century) by Francisco Goya; Francisco Goya, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Scholars consider Francisco Goya to be one of the most highly renowned and influential Spanish artists of the early 19th century, and he is sometimes cited as the Last Old Master. Goya’s paintings were appreciated for their depictions of historical events and current happenings. When he was diagnosed with a condition that rendered him deaf in 1793, his art became more gloomy and darker.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

Art by Famous PaintersThird of May 1808 (1814) by Francisco Goya; Francisco Goya, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

J.M.W. Turner (1775 – 1851)

Nationality of Artist British
Lived In United Kingdom
Mediums Known For Painter, Printmaker
Movements Associated with Artist Romanticism

J.M.W Turner was an English painter who was born on the 23rd of April, 1775, in the village of Covent Garden in London. He was a Romantic painter and printer most renowned for his vivid and occasionally violent representations of naval boats and sea life. He is renowned for being one of the most influential artists in landscape painting.

Portrait of Famous ArtistsSelf-portrait (c. 1799) by J. M. W. Turner; J. M. W. Turner, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

He was an extremely private character who kept to himself and was regarded as rather eccentric. He never married but had a couple of daughters with Sarah Danby, his Housemaid. As he grew older, his demeanor grew increasingly sour, particularly after the death of his father. Despite dying in poverty, he is regarded as one of the most famous artists in the landscape genre.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Modern Rome (1839)
  • Fishermen at Sea (1796)

Landscapes by Famous ArtistsModern Rome – Campo Vaccino (1839) by J. M. W. TurnerJ. M. W. Turner, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863)

Nationality of Artist French
Lived In Paris
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Romanticism, Romanesque

Eugène Delacroix was the most well-known artist of the Romantic era in France in the nineteenth century, and he is often regarded as the most important French artist of his time. Impressionism was profoundly inspired by his vibrant use of color and extremely expressive brushstrokes. Unlike Ingres and other Neoclassical artists, who focused on form perfection, Delacroix focused on movement and color.

Most Famous French PainterSelf-portrait with a green vest (c. 1837) by Eugène Delacroix; Eugène Delacroix, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

His major influences were Venetian Renaissance painters such as Rubens. His art was marked by romantic but dramatic material as its major themes. He was uninterested in the traditional traditions of Roman and Greek art, preferring instead to explore the unknown by going to locations like North Africa for inspiration.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

Top Influential ArtistsLiberty Leading the People (1830) by Eugène Delacroix; Eugène Delacroix, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Édouard Manet (1832 – 1883)

Nationality of Artist French
Lived In Paris, France
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Realism, Impressionism

Édouard Manet was a native to Paris, France, and was born on the 23rd of January, 1832. He was regarded as a Modernist painter in the 19th century for his depictions of modern life and was regarded as a leading figure in the transitional movement from the style of Realism to Impressionism. He was born into a political family and was expected to make a career out of politics.

Photographs of the Best Artists of All TimeClose-up photograph of artist Édouard Manet, before 1870; Nadar, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Manet, on the other hand, quickly dismissed the idea of pursuing his childhood goal of becoming an artist. Manet created a distinctive style that was recognized for its creativity and influenced many later painters over the last two decades of his life. His early paintings are recognized as forerunners in the impressionist movement.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

Iconic Paintings by Famous ArtistsLe Déjeuner sur l’herbe (‘Luncheon on the Grass’, 1863) by Édouard Manet; Édouard Manet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906)

Nationality of Artist French
Lived In Aix-en-Provence, France
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Post-Impressionism, Modern art, Impressionism

Paul Cézanne is the most well-known Post-Impressionist painter in France. He is most recognized for bridging the gap between 19th-century Impressionist painters and Cubism, the most popular trend in the early twentieth century. He was also renowned for experimenting with the notion of “geometric simplicity,” in which an apple would be represented by a sphere and a tree’s trunk by a cylinder.

Most Famous PaintersSelf-portrait against a pink background (c. 1875) by Paul Cézanne; Paul Cézanne, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The use of exploratory and repeated brushstrokes is characteristic of Paul Cézanne’s work. He used these brushstrokes to create color planes and complex fields by applying tiny brushstrokes repeatedly. This demonstrates how thoroughly he researched his subjects. Many of his contemporaries, including Picasso and Matisse, regarded him as the “Father of Us All.”

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • The Card Players series (the 1890s)
  • The Baskets of Apples (1890)

Artworks by Influential ArtistsThe Card Players (1892 and 1893) by Paul Cézanne; Paul Cézanne, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Nationality of Artist French
Lived In Paris, France
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Impressionism, Modern Art

Oscar-Claude Monet, who was born on November 14, 1840, is a well-known French painter who is often regarded as the originator and father of Impressionism. He sought to depict nature as he subjectively saw it, and as a result, he is regarded as a significant forerunner of the Modernist movement.

Old Photograph of a Master PainterPortrait of Claude Monet, by the photographer Nadar in 1899; Nadar, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout Monet’s lengthy career, he was known as the most prolific practitioner of Impressionism, a theory that prioritizes the painter’s subjective impressions above the objective perspective of nature, with a focus on landscapes and other outdoor themes. His impact on the art movement may be seen in the art movement’s adoption of the title of his picture Impression, which led to the name “Impressionism.”

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Water Lilies series (1896 – 1926)
  • Rouen Cathedral series (1892 – 1893)

Famous Artists Painting SeriesWater Lilies (1906) by Claude Monet; Claude Monet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919)

Nationality of Artist French
Lived In Cagnes-sur-Mer, France
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Impressionist

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the most productive famous French painters of the 19th century and was considered a leader among fellow French Impressionist movement painters. He specialized in painting personal portraits of people in natural settings and postures. Renoir’s work was regarded by historians to be the last depiction of an old tradition that went from Rubens through Watteau, and it highlighted the feminine form and themes of beauty and sensuality.

Photograph of Master PaintersA photograph of Pierre Auguste-Renoir, c. 1875; Unknown Unknown Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Upon his death in December of 1919, an incredible legacy of Impressionist artwork that has influenced numerous other painters was left behind. His work not only influenced the Impressionist style, but also the other creative movements that followed. His technique was defined by showing the finer elements of a painted scene by stroking freely with color to blend the surroundings and characters together gently and discreetly.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881)
  • The Large Bathers (1887)

Best Artists of All Time PaintingsLuncheon of the Boating Party (1880-1881) by Pierre Auguste-Renoir; Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890)

Nationality of Artist Dutch
Lived In Netherlands, France
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Post-Impressionism

A famous portrait artist and landscape painter, Vincent van Gogh was a post-impressionist Dutch painter who was born in Zundert, Netherlands. He created several portraits, still lifes, and landscape paintings, but it was only after his death in 1890 that he gained popularity and critical acclaim. He produced approximately 2,100 pieces of art, many of which were created in the last ten years of his life.

Self-Portraits of Famous ArtistsSelf-portrait with grey felt hat (1887) by Vincent van Gogh; Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

His style, which is instantly identifiable for its dramatic use of color and expressively spontaneous brush strokes, served to establish the basis for contemporary art. Despite his worldwide fame, he lived in poverty and battled delusions and insanity throughout his life. Due to a disagreement with fellow artist Gauguin, he famously chopped off his ear and spent some time in numerous mental institutions.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

Famous Painters ArtworksThe Starry Night (1889) by Vincent van Gogh; Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944)

Nationality of Artist Russian
Lived In Russia and France
Mediums Known For Art theorist and Painter
Movements Associated with Artist Expressionism, Abstract Art

Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866, and this Russian art theorist and painter is often cited as the originator of the abstract arts. Most of Kandinsky’s childhood was spent in the city of Odessa (Modern-day Ukraine). Before enrolling at the University of Moscow, he was a student at Grekov Odessa Art school. He eventually gained a professorship of Roman Law position at the University of Dorpat. It wouldn’t be until after he turned 30 that he started painting studies.

Famous ArtistsPhotograph of Wassily Kandinsky; 未知上傳者, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

He then moved to Munich in 1896, where he studied initially at a private school known as Anton Ažbe’s. After that, he began studying at the academy of fine arts. He returned to Russia to help open the Museum of the Culture of Painting, but after finding it difficult to combine his personal outlooks with the materialistically driven Soviet Society, he returned once again to Germany in 1920.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Odessa Port (1898)
  • In Grey (1919)

Paintings by Famous ArtistsIn Grey (1919) by Wassily Kandinsky; Wassily Kandinsky, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954)

Nationality of Artist French
Lived In Nice, France
Mediums Known For Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking
Movements Associated with Artist Fauvism, Modernism, Post-Impressionism

Many art scholars consider Henri Matisse to be among the most important and famous French painters of the modern era. He has also been regarded as the finest colorist of the twentieth century, working in a variety of mediums such as painting and sculpture. However, this well-known French painter is most recognized for his Fauvism-inspired works.

Influential ArtistsHenri Matisse, Paris, May 13th, 1913; Alvin Langdon Coburn, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Many people consider Matisse, along with colleagues like Picasso, to be a significant artist who helped define the coming revolutionary advances in the visual arts during the early years of the twentieth century. He exhibited a body of work that demonstrated his mastery of expressively utilized color for more than half a century, gaining him distinction as a significant and influential figure in contemporary art.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • La Danse (1910)
  • Woman with a Hat (1905)

Paintings by the Best Artists of All TimeLa Danse (1910) by Henri Matisse; Michel B., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Nationality of Artist Spanish
Lived In Spain And France
Mediums Known For Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking
Movements Associated with Artist Cubism, Surrealism, Expressionism

Pablo Picasso, a Spanish painter, was born in the town of Málaga, Spain, in 1881, yet he would spend most of his working life in France. Picasso is considered by art historians as one of the most important painters of the 20th century, having co-founded Cubism, collage, and built sculpture. Picasso began painting in a realistic style as a youngster, exhibiting remarkable creative ability from an early age and throughout his adolescence.

Most Influential ArtistsA photograph of Pablo Picasso, 1962; Argentina. Revista Vea y Lea, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

He experimented with numerous techniques and processes during the 1910s, resulting in a significant shift in his approach to art. Picasso was inspired by Matisse’s work in the Fauvist movement to explore more unconventional painting forms, culminating in a fruitful competition between Picasso and Matisse for many years as they were both regarded as major leaders in contemporary art by critics. Despite the fact that the finished result had a distinctly abstract aspect, Picasso’s work always began with reality as a starting point.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • La Vie (1903)
  • Family of Saltimbanques (1905)

 

Georges Braque (1882 – 1963)

Nationality of Artist French
Lived In Paris, France
Mediums Known For Painting, Sculpting, Drafting
Movements Associated with Artist Favism, Cubism, Expressionism

Georges Braque was a very significant painter from France in the twentieth century. He was also a draughtsman, collagist, printmaker, and sculptor who was born on the 13th of May 1882. His work in the early 1900s Fauvist movement, as well as his major contributions to the development of Cubism, are his most well-known contributions to art history.

Photo of Influential ArtistA photograph of Georges Braque, 1908; Photographer non-identified, anonymous, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

His work between 1908 and 1912 is sometimes compared to that of Pablo Picasso, a peer with much more acclaim and reputation in the art world. During this time, however, the work of both Cubist painters was nearly indistinguishable from one another.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

  • Bottle and Fishes (1910)
  • Fruit Dish and Glass (1912)

 

Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989)

Nationality of Artist Spanish
Lived In Figueres, Spain
Mediums Known For Painting, Drawing, Film
Movements Associated with Artist Surrealism, Expressionism,

Salvador Dalí is one of the most well-known characters in the world of art, and he is remembered and adored as much for his bizarre and luxurious lifestyle as for his prolific artistic production. Dalí was buried at his museum when he died in 1989, demonstrating how deeply he was committed to his work. Dalí was fully aware of his peculiarities, and he used them to produce very personal artwork that was rich in subliminal symbolism and dream-like characteristics.

Portrait Photographs of the Best Artists of All TimeA photograph of Salvador Dalí with his pet ocelot, Babou, and cane, 1965; Roger Higgins, World Telegram staff photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dalí aspired to defy societal conventions in both his life and work, contributing to the development of new symbolic visual languages and creative methods that broadened our understanding of and expression of the human psyche and subconscious mind. His anti-establishment outlook began early in his career when he was dismissed from Madrid Academy for inciting a student protest against an art professor he considered a lousy instructor and unqualified to train pupils.

Some exceptional examples of his work include:

 

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)

Nationality of Artist Mexican
Lived In Mexico City
Mediums Known For Painting
Movements Associated with Artist Surrealism, Modern Art

Frida Kahlo was a famous portrait artist. She was born in Mexico City, Mexico, on July 6, 1907. Her self-portraits brought her much fame, and she used naïve folk art techniques to express her ethnic identity. She utilized her work to investigate issues such as class, gender, and post-colonial Mexican culture. She created her own version of Mexican culture by combining parts of fantasy and personal realism, and she was a distinctive voice for women in the arts.

Female Influential ArtistsFrida Kahlo, 1932;&n