The 20 Most Famous Artists Of All Time (To Know)
This includes Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso, Van Gogh...
Overwhelmed with all painters and artists? Lost in-between Surrealism and Impressionism? Between Pop-Art and Realism?
Don’t worry, niood lists the 20 Most Famous Artists Of All Time To Absolutely Know:
Leonardo da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519) was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect. While his fame initially rested on his achievements as a painter, he also became known for his notebooks, in which he made drawings and notes on a variety of subjects, including anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, painting, and paleontology. Leonardo’s genius epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal, and his collective works compose a contribution to later generations of artists matched only by that of his younger contemporary, Michelangelo. Leonardo is among the greatest painters in the history of art and is often credited as the founder of the High Renaissance. Despite having many lost works and less than 25 attributed major works—including numerous unfinished works—he created some of the most influential paintings in Western art.
niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Leonardo Da Vinci.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), known simply as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance born in the Republic of Florence, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. His artistic versatility was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and elder contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci. Several scholars have described Michelangelo as the greatest artist of his age and even as the greatest artist of all time.
In his lifetime, Michelangelo was often called Il Divino (“the divine one”). His contemporaries often admired his terribilità—his ability to instill a sense of awe in viewers of his art. Attempts by subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo’s impassioned, highly personal style resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Michelangelo.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669), usually simply known as Rembrandt, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, printmaker and draughtsman. He is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt’s works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, and biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies. Like many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, such as Jan Vermeer of Delft, Rembrandt was also an avid art collector and dealer.
His etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Rembrandt.
Johannes Vermeer (October 1632 – December 1675) was a Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. During his lifetime, he was a moderately successful provincial genre painter, recognized in Delft and The Hague. Nonetheless, he produced relatively few paintings and evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death.
Vermeer remains primarily known for his genre scenes. These present, in a style that combines mystery and familiarity, formal perfection and poetic depth, interiors and scenes of domestic life, to represent a world more perfect than the one he could have witnessed. These mature works present a coherence which makes them immediately recognizable, and which is based in particular on inimitable color associations – with a predilection for natural ultramarine and yellow -, a great mastery of the treatment of light and space, and the combination of restricted elements, recurring from one painting to another. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Vermeer.
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863) was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school. As a painter and muralist, Delacroix’s use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of colour profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement.
Delacroix is widely regarded as the leader of the Romantic movement in 19th-century French art. His life and work embodied the movement’s concern for emotion, exoticism, and the sublime, and his painting style – full of lush, agitated brushwork and pulsating with vivid color – was in direct contrast to the cool and controlled delineations of his peer and rival, Ingres. Delacroix eschewed academic conventions in his choice of subjects, favoring scenes from contemporary history rendered on a large scale in the most dramatic of fashions, with visibly energized brushwork and dynamic figural compositions. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Eugene Delacroix.
Oscar-Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who is seen as a key precursor to modernism, especially in his attempts to paint nature as he perceived it. During his long career, he was the most consistent and prolific practitioner of impressionism’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air (outdoor) landscape painting. The term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, exhibited in the 1874 Salon des Refusés (“exhibition of rejects”) initiated by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon.
Frequently exhibited and successful during his lifetime, his fame and popularity soared in the second half of the 20th century when he became one of the world’s most famous painters and a source of inspiration for burgeoning groups of artists. niood lists the 10 most famous artworks of Claude Monet.
Vincent van Gogh, one of the most well-known post-impressionist artists, for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland on March 30, 1853.
Van Gogh’s finest works were produced in less than three years in a technique that grew more and more impassioned in brush stroke, in symbolic and intense color, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line. Van Gogh’s inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful; dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Vincent Van Gogh.
Edvard Munch (12 December 1863 – 23 January 1944) was a Norwegian painter. His childhood was overshadowed by illness, bereavement and the dread of inheriting a mental condition that ran in the family.
Edvard Munch was a prolific yet perpetually troubled artist preoccupied with matters of human mortality such as chronic illness, sexual liberation, and religious aspiration. He expressed these obsessions through works of intense color, semi-abstraction, and mysterious subject matter. niood lists the 10 most famous artworks of Edvard Munch.
Pablo Picasso was a Spanish artist born in Malaga on October 25, 1881, died on April 8, 1973 in Mougins, buried in the park of the Château de Vauvenargues, Bouches du Rhône. He is best known for his paintings, and is one of the major artists of the 20th century. He is, with Georges Braque, the founder of the cubist movement. Pablo Picasso (1916) His full name was Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispin Crispiniano de la Sentissima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso. Picasso’s father, Don José Ruiz y Blanco, was a painter and drawing teacher at the Malaga school called “San Telmo”. He is also curator of the municipal museum, coming from an old and well-regarded family in the province of Leon, in northwestern Spain, Picasso’s mother, Dona Maria, is originally from Andalusia and has Arab origins. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Pablo Picasso.
Andy Warhol was one of the most prolific and popular artists of his time, using both avant-garde and highly commercial sensibilities.
In the late 1950s, Warhol began devoting more attention to painting, and in 1961, he debuted the concept of “pop art” — paintings that focused on mass-produced commercial goods. In 1962, he exhibited the now-iconic paintings of Campbell’s soup cans. These small canvas works of everyday consumer products created a major stir in the art world, bringing both Warhol and pop art into the national spotlight for the first time. Warhol’s other famous pop paintings depicted Coca-cola bottles, vacuum cleaners and hamburgers. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Andy Warhol.
Where to see Andy Warhol’s work:
Henri Émile Benoît Matisse was a French artist, known for both his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso, as one of the artists who best helped to define the revolutionary developments in the visual arts throughout the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture.
His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Henri Matisse.
Best Places to View Matisse:
Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956) was an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was widely noticed for his “drip technique” of pouring or splashing liquid household paint onto a horizontal surface, enabling him to view and paint his canvases from all angles. It was also called all-over painting and action painting, since he covered the entire canvas and used the force of his whole body to paint, often in a frenetic dancing style. This extreme form of abstraction divided the critics: some praised the immediacy of the creation, while others derided the random effects. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Jackson Pollock.
René François Ghislain Magritte (21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist, who became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images. Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality. His imagery has influenced pop art, minimalist art, and conceptual art.
Like the other artists and poets associated with the Surrealist movement, Magritte sought to overthrow what he saw as the oppressive rationalism of bourgeois society. His art during these essential years is at times violent, frequently disturbing, and filled with discontinuities. niood lists the most famous artworks of René Magritte.
Salvador Dalí, in full Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech, (born May 11, 1904, Figueras, Spain—died January 23, 1989, Figueras), Spanish Surrealist painter and printmaker, influential for his explorations of subconscious imagery.
Born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, Dalí received his formal education in fine arts in Madrid. Influenced by Impressionism and the Renaissance masters from a young age, he became increasingly attracted to Cubism and avant-garde movements. He moved closer to Surrealism in the late 1920s and joined the Surrealist group in 1929, soon becoming one of its leading exponents. Dalí’s artistic repertoire included painting, graphic arts, film, sculpture, design and photography, at times in collaboration with other artists. He also wrote fiction, poetry, autobiography, essays and criticism. Major themes in his work include dreams, the subconscious, sexuality, religion, science and his closest personal relationships. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Salvador Dali.
Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967) was an American realist painter and printmaker. While he is widely known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching. His career benefited decisively from his marriage to fellow-artist Josephine Nivison, who contributed much to his work, both as a life-model and as a creative partner. Hopper was a minor-key artist, creating subdued drama out of commonplace subjects ‘layered with a poetic meaning’, inviting narrative interpretations, often unintended. He was praised for ‘complete verity’ in the America he portrayed. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Edward Hopper.
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón (6 July 1907 – 13 July 1954) was a Mexican painter known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. Inspired by the country’s popular culture, she employed a naïvefolk art style to explore questions of identity, postcolonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society. Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy. In addition to belonging to the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity, Kahlo has been described as a surrealist or magical realist. She is known for painting about her experience of chronic pain. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Frida Kahlo.
Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生, Kusama Yayoi, born 22 March 1929) is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. Her work is based in conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, Art Brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism, and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Yayoi Kusama.
Where to See Yayoi Kusama’s arts:
Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851), known in his time as William Turner, was an English Romantic painter, printmaker and watercolourist. He is known for his expressive colourisations, imaginative landscapes and turbulent, often violent marine paintings. He left behind more than 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolours, and 30,000 works on paper.
Turner’s imagination was sparked by shipwrecks, fires (including the burning of Parliament in 1834, an event which Turner witnessed first-hand, and transcribed in a series of watercolour sketches), and natural phenomena such as sunlight, storm, rain, and fog. He was fascinated by the violent power of the sea, as seen in Dawn after the Wreck (1840) and The Slave Ship (1840). niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of JMW Turner.
Paul Cézanne (19 January 1839 – 22 October 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century.
Cézanne is said to have formed the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Cézanne’s often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne’s intense study of his subjects. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne “is the father of us all”. niood lists the 12 Most Famous Artworks of Paul Cézanne.
Roy Lichtenstein was one of the most influential and innovative artists of the second half of the twentieth century. He is preeminently identified with Pop Art, a movement he helped originate, and his first fully achieved paintings were based on imagery from comic strips and advertisements and rendered in a style mimicking the crude printing processes of newspaper reproduction. niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Roy Lichtenstein.
The Best Places to See Roy Lichtenstein’s Art: