Painting is one of the most well-known and revered forms of art in the world and throughout history. Famous paintings are viewed as national treasures and are incredibly valuable. Most people usually know of at least one famous painter whether it be one of many modern artists like Jeff Koons or a famous artist from history. This list showcases different 10 well-known popular artists throughout both the world and different eras of history.
10. Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo was one of the most well-known female painters and was considered a significant artist of the 20th century in Mexico. The influential artist rediscovered her passion for art during her recovery from an accident at age 18. She is well known for her distinctive style of self-portraits that incorporated elements of surrealism and bright colours that dealt with identity, death and the human condition. The female artist’s most famous paintings are ‘The Two Fridas’ a double self-portrait painted in 1939 and ‘The Wounded Deer’ a surrealist self-portrait painted in 1946.
Hokusai, a Japanese artist born in the Edo period, 19th century, is one of the few famous Asian artists whose work is easily recognisable. He gained the most recognition for his artwork named ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’, which was part of a larger piece of work, the woodblock print series, ‘Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji’. It is one of his most well-known pieces of art and is also the most famous painting to come from Japan. It was painted in 1831. Over his career, he produced over 30,000 pieces of work as paintings, sketches, woodblock prints and picture book illustrations.
8. Salvador Dali
Dali, a Spanish artist, is one of the most well-known painters for his surrealist work of art, ‘The Persistence of Memory’, a painting depicting melting watches in a desert, painted in 1931. Considered the most famous painter of surrealism, he explored themes such as the human condition through the subconscious, dreams, science, sexuality and religion. His work was and still is popular in graphic art, film, sculpture, design, photography and contemporary artists. Dali is also known for his spectacular and iconic moustache.
7. Johannes Vermeer
Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter born in 1632 in Delft, a city in South Holland, Netherlands. Not much was known about Vermeer, leading him to be dubbed ‘The Sphinx of Delft’ by Théophile Thoré-Bürger, a French journalist and art critic who rediscovered the Dutch artist’s work in the 19th century. Johannes Vermeer was best known for capturing snapshots of 17th-century domestic middle-class life. Most of the pieces by the famous painter were set in the same two rooms of his home in Delft and usually featured women. His most recognised work is the stunning ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ painted in 1665.
6. Claude Monet
Monet was a French painter in the late 19th century famous for being the leading figure in founding impressionism. His realistic style works of natural settings and landscape paintings he painted in the open air are not to be confused with fellow artist Edouard Manet. His most renowned piece, ‘Impression, Sunrise’ is the namesake of the art style and was painted in 1972. The French painter gained popularity in the late 20th century after his death and became one of the world’s most famous painters. The influential artist was an inspiration for many upcoming modern artists for his art technique. His many paintings of the water lilies in the style of realism in his garden in Giverny, France are his most famous pieces of art and were done in the last 30 years of his life.
An Italian artist of the 16th century, Michelangelo is best known for his painting, ‘Creation of Adam’ which can still be seen on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. However, he was more than just an Italian painter, he was also a sculptor, an architect and a poet, with his famous sculptures, ‘Pietà’ which can be seen at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City and ‘David’, a 5.17-metre marble statue that can be found in Florence, Italy.
4. Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso was a famous Spanish artist who emerged at the cusp of the twentieth century and was known for his dramatic approach to art. He employed numerous techniques as a sculptor, graphic artist, ceramist and jewellery designer. He is best known for creating the unconventional painting forms known as ‘cubism’ which paved the way for the creation of the abstract painting style by abstract artists. Pablo Picasso’s most famous artwork is ‘Guernica’, painted in 1937 in response to the bombing of the Spanish town Guernica by Nazi Germany during the Spanish Civil War. It is considered a powerful anti-war painting by an influential artist that has inspired many interpretations by contemporary painters.
3. Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh was a post-impressionist Dutch painter in the 19th century whose pieces of art became famous and made him an influential artist after his death by suicide at age 37 in 1890. He created approximately 2,100 pieces of art within a decade, which primarily consisted of landscape paintings, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits. The Dutch artist’s most famous painting is ‘The Starry Night’ painted in 1889 and is recognisable all over the world. Van Gogh is also well-known for cutting off part of his own ear.
2. Leonardo da Vinci
Da Vinci was an Italian artist from the 16th century who was and still is considered a genius. The famous historical figure was also a draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, architect and sculptor. Unlike many other artists on this list, Leonardo da Vinci gained renown and recognition during his lifetime and had a large following of admirers and students. His most recognised paintings, ‘The Last Supper’ painted in 1498 and ‘Mona Lisa’ painted in 1503 are considered some of the world’s most famous paintings. ‘Mona Lisa’ is on display for the public in the Louvre in Paris, France and is still in great condition in terms of its age.
1. Phoenix Painting & Decorating
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Other Notable Mentions
Other famous artists of note that were not included in this list are; Rembrandt van Rijn, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, American painter Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Francis Bacon, Jan van Eyck, Artemisia Gentileschi, Kazimir Malevich, American artist Jeff Koons and many more who are renowned artists and famous painters.