Gustav Klimt was born on July 14, 1862, in Baumgarten, Austria, the second seven children, the son of a poor jewelry engraver, It is only at the age of fourteen, after he enters the University of Plastic Arts in Vienna, that he begins developing his talent as an artist; he studied at the University until graduating at the age of twenty, at which time he had been commissioned to create several decorative works, making use of his training in modernist craftsmanship. He then founded the Känstlercompanie (Company of Artists) studio with his brother Ernst, and Franz Matsch, a fellow student. The three found much success as mural painters, getting contracts from museums, theaters, and other decorative artwork for wealthy patrons. The company eventually ceased to exist, following the death of Ernst, and a falling out with Franz Matsch.
During his years as a decorator, Klimt finely honed his personal style, which was a product of his artistic training, and the engraving skills his father had taught him. Klimt's paintings often included gold and silver paint, metal, and ceramics, and as much attention was given to ornamental details as to their subjects. Very few of Klimt's paintings were done on canvases, as he preferred to paint murals. Klimt also found inspiration in Byzantine mosaics, which he discovered while exploring Vienna.
In 1897, Gustav Klimt took an interest in politics and rallied other artists to found the Vienna Sezession, a Art Nouveau movement whose goal was to give young, innovative artists a chance to get exposure, and to revolt against the conservative attitudes of the academic art world. He organized several exhibits, attracting thousands from around the world to view their revolutionary art, and even published "Ver Sacrum", a monthly magazine about the movement and its artists. His own personal style came to represent the movement's aesthetics, and in 1902, he painted the "Beethoven Fries", a mural for the Sezession building.
In 1905, following a series of disagreements with other members of the Sezession several others leave the group, and form a new association called theKunstschau (Art Show). His famous painting, The Kiss, was created between 1907 and 1908, but it is still associated with the Sezession. Klimt was a very popular artist, but he was also quite controversial. He was renowned for his womanizing, and often used prostitutes as models. Many of his works were considered too sensual for the mores of early 20th Century Vienna, and even his more historical, or mythical works featuring nudes were often criticized for being too erotic. Fortunately, the scandals only served to heighten Klimt's international recognition, if not his notoriety.
In addition to women, Klimt often traveled to the outskirts of Vienna, and the Italian countryside, finding inspiration in nature, particularly autumnal landscapes, which already showed the rich golden hues of his own decorative designs. From the opulence of the Viennese Bourgeoisie to the mythological, from eroticism to the simple beauty of nature, Klimt's artwork always maintained its highly stylized feel, but what remains one of its most fascinating traits is that while concentrating on the superficial, its depth cannot be ignored.
In 1917, he was made an honorary member the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. On January 11th of the following year, at the age of 55, Gustav Klimt suffered a stroke while working in his apartment. Weakened from the stroke, and suffering from pneumonia, he died less than a month later, on February 6th, 1918.
Edvard Munch was born on December 12th, 1863, in Løten, Norway, the son of Christian Munch, a military doctor. He spent most of his childhood living in Kristiania, which is now better known as Oslo, the Norwegian capital. Edvard Munch's mother, his brother, and one of his sisters died of tuberculosis while he was still young, and Edvard was himself a sickly child. At the age of 17 was tutored in the arts by Christian Krohg, a naturalist painter, who was quite famous in Norway. Edvard's talent was evident by his early realist paintings, but the traumatic events that plagued Edvard's youth had an even deeper impact on his artistic vision than any other artist or artistic movement could have.
In 1885, Munch received a grant to study for three weeks in Paris. A year later, he began working on "The Sick Child", which would be his first truly personal piece. Here was Munch exploring the darkness of his youth, in a painting based on memories of his favorite sister Sophie's affliction with tuberculosis. Munch eschewed the naturalistic approach of Krogh, and incorporated expressionist tendencies in his work. Death, illness and mental anguish were themes that would from then on continue to figure prominently in his paintings. Although "The Sick Child" wasn't initially appreciated by critics, it remains one of his most important works, along with "The Day After" and "Puberty", two other paintings from the same period. Munch had spent considerable time discussing philosophical matters with Norway's Kristiania bohemians leader Hans Jaeger, and it was at that point that he had decided the impressions of his soul, and not his eyes, were what he wanted to commit to canvas.
In 1889, at the age of 26, Edvard Munch put on his first retrospective exhibit at The Norwegian Students' Association in Kristiania. The show is a success, no doubt due to the fact that he chooses to present his lighter, less anguished creations, and he is awarded a travel grant which will allow him to return to Paris for the next three years, in order to further his studies. Munch's father dies, and he returns to Paris to study, this time with Léon Bonnat, but Munch gains far more artistic direction from his interest in the works of the post-impressionists. His following show, this time in at the Artists' Association in Berlin. The show was both successful, and a disaster, as critics denounced his work as that of an anarchist, and closed the exhibit. Nonetheless, Munch becomes a household name in Germany. Munch lived and worked in Berlin and Paris for many years, and his works were included in several exhibits.
In 1891, Munch begins working on sketches for The Scream, his most famous piece, and descriptive self-portrait. There were several versions of this work created by munch, from black and white illustrations to several paintings, using several different techniques. In 1893, he presents some of the paintings from his Frieze of Life series in an exhibit on Unter den Linden, again, darkness is ever present in his work, which is charged with atmosphere and anguished love. The next year, he continues working on the series, and works such as the Madonna and Ashes are born. In 1896, Munch begins experimenting with lithographs, and woodcuts, which he produces in collaboration with printer Auguste Clot.
In the early 1900s, Munch continued painting Frieze of Life images, but he felt it was time for him to move on to other things. In 1902, plagued by sadness over an ill-fated romance and the cumulative traumas of his life, not to mention a growing battle with alcoholism, Munch tries to commit suicide, but fails, wounding his hand instead. Munch exorcizes his demons by making several paintings which feature representations of his love lost, and even creates works based on less introverted themes such as Bathing Men, but Munch's tormented psyche takes over once more, and in 1908, he is admitted to a psychiatric hospital where he spends several months recovering from a nervous breakdown.
In 1909, Munch returns to Norway where he is commissioned to create murals for the Aula of the University of Kristiania. Even there, the nature of his work causes quite a stir, and it is only after much debate and controversy that the murals are put up in the Aula. While he remains in Norway, his works are sought by many galleries world-wide, and in 1912, he is even given a permanent gallery at the Sonderbund Internationale Ausstellung in Cologne. In 1916, Munch purchases the Ekely estate, just outside of Kristiania, where he will remain for the rest of his life.
Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow, on December 4th, 1866. His parents both played piano, so he was encouraged to learn how to read and play music at an early age. Young Kandinsky played cello and piano, and even though we know him best as a painter, music has always been the main inspiration behind his work. When he was only 5 years old,, his parents divorced, so he moved in with his aunt in Odessa, continuing to play music, and learning to paint; but the gifted young man did not choose to study art or music when he later enrolled at Moscow University, choosing instead the "safer" fields of Economics, Politics, and Law. During his years at the university, Kandinsky explore spirituality through writing. He also taught at the Moscow Faculty of Law. For Kandinsky, the arts were no more than a hobby.
It wasn't until 1896 that Kandinsky decided to seriously study art. The sudden change in his life had been triggered by his interest in the work of Monet, an artist who's work has had a profound impact on many others. Kandinsky was fascinated by the impressionist artist's style, as he had never before seen paintings which weren't meant to perfectly imitate reality. Kandinsky studied in Munich, under Anton Azbé, sketching, anatomy and life drawing. He then studied under Franz von Stuck, then moved on to found and the avant-garde Phalanx exhibiting society, and write about art. His administrative skills served him well as director of the Phalanx exhibiting society, while his writings about spirituality had prepared him for his works about color theory.
Kandinsky was a synaesthete, meaning that he could see sound as color, and vice versa. His writings on color theory sometimes bordered on the mystical, as his own interpretations and visual impressions took on almost paranormal qualities. In 1906, Kandinsky settled in Paris with his mistress, and Gabriele Münter, who was also a talented art student. A year later, the two were separated, and Kandinsky suffered a nervous breakdown, and relocated to Bavaria, so he could lead a quiet life, and concentrate on his art. Kandinsky experimented with color and minimal composition, eschewing reality from his work. Like music, his paintings were renderings of emotional states, and while it is easy to feel sadness when looking at an image of a tragic scene, Kandinsky's work would communicate the same feelings without incorporating representational elements.
Kandinsky's work was shown in galleries across Europe, and while there was never anything in the paintings themselves that would be shocking to the public, the sheer abstract nature of his work would stir controversy. One could say Kandinsky gave birth to abstract art.
Kandinsky returned to Munich in 1908, bristling with creative energy. A year later, he founded the New Artists Association of Munich, and creating many abstract glass paintings based on musical elements. He also published another book on Spirituality, this time in relation to art, and he wrote several plays and poems. Along with New Artists Association, Kandinsky was also a member of the Blaue Reiter (a.k.a. Blue Rider), which he founded with fellow artist Franz Marc, and was also a member of the Bauhaus movement with composer Arnold Schoenberg and Paul Klee . Kandinsky was involved in many movements, learning and experimenting with words, music, and painting.
On music, Kandinsky had this to say: "Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key then another to cause vibration in the soul."
Georgia Totto O'Keeffe was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on November 15, 1887, the second child and first daughter in a family that would eventually include two sons and five daughters. Her parents were dairy farmers, but Georgia knew she was going to be an artist from early on. She and her sister were both taught to draw by a grammar school teacher who had been boarding at their home, an taught to paint by Sarah Mann, a local watercolor artist. Georgia's parents moved from Wisconsin to Virginia in 1902, hoping to get some relief from the long, cold winters which had claimed the lives of three of her father's brothers. By the time she was a teenager, Georgia had several years of artistic training to her credit, and received much encouragement from Elizabeth Willis, her art teacher at the Chatham Episcopal Institute. Georgia graduated in 1905, and continued her art studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she received top honors for her first year, but could not return for the second year, due to a serious bout with typhoid fever. It wasn't until September 1907, that she was able to resume her studies, this time choosing New York's Art Student League, where she earned a scholarship for still life in the class of William Merritt Chase. During her time at the Art Student League, Georgia posed for classmate Eugene Speicher, who told her she might as well pose for him, as she would no doubt amount to nothing more than a teaching job at a girl's school. Despite the insulting remark, Georgia did pose for the portrait, and for many others by fellow students afterwards. In the summer of 1908, on her scholarship, she attended the Art Student League’s Outdoor School at Lake George, New York.
Georgia didn't return to the Art Student League in the fall. She moved in with her aunt and uncle in Chicago, finding work as a commercial artist. In 1912, Georgia was struck with Measles, and returns to Virginia to be with her family. She later took a teaching job, replacing Elizabeth Willis at the Chatham Episcopal Institute. The following summer, she resumed her studies, this time taking drawing classes at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. That same year, Georgia heard of an available teaching position as drawing supervisor, in Amarillo, Texas, so she applied and was hired for the fall semester. She stayed in Texas until 1914, making frequent trips to Charlottesville to spend time with her family, and to continue teaching summer classes at the University of Virginia. She later enrolled at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she stayed until she was offered a teaching position at Columbia College in South Carolina. After years of teaching and having little time to herself, Georgia decided it was time to start painting again, this time armed with enough knowledge and self-confidence to eschew conventions and create according to her personal vision; the result is a series of abstract charcoal drawings which she says are based on images she has in her head. She sends the drawings to a friend, Anita Pollitzer, who in turn takes them to Alfred Stieglitz's 291 gallery in Chicago. Stieglitz is very impressed, and he decided to show the drawings without first consulting Georgia, which somewhat angered her, so she traveled to New York to have him take down the artwork, but following a brief confrontation, she agreed to let Stieglitz show her work, and thus began a relationship that was to result in her marrying the art curator and photographer.
Alfred Stieglitz was an important figure in the art world, He had studied engineering and photography in Berlin before returning to the U.S. to open the 291 gallery in 1902. He is credited has having introduced America to the works of Rodin, Matisse, and Picasso. For years, he fought to gain the acceptance of photography as an art form, publishing "Camera Works" magazine. It wasn't until 1917 that Stieglitz put on a solo showing of Georgia O'Keeffe's watercolors at his 291 gallery, shortly afterwards, 291 closed, but Stieglitz was nonetheless satisfied. In April, on her way back to Texas from a vacation in Colorado, she stopped by Santa Fe and found great inspiration in New Mexico’s vast skies and alien landscapes. A few months later, Georgia O'Keeffe became ill with the flu, and had to take a leave of absence from her teaching job, only to resign a short time later. It was at that time that Stieglitz managed to convince Georgia to move to New York and move into his niece's unused apartment. Stieglitz had romantic feelings towards Georgia, and now that she was near him, he decided to pursue them. He left his wife of many years and moved into his studio. Stieglitz was 54 years old when Georgia arrived in New York she was 21. Knowing that she enjoyed working in the great outdoors, Stieglitz took Georgia to a cottage out in the Adirondack Mountains, where she created many paintings, Stieglitz also spent much photographing Georgia, and he ended up showing some of her portraits, including several nudes at a retrospective exhibition at The Anderson Galleries in 1921.
Stieglitz loved Georgia O'Keeffe, and had admiration for her talent. He more or less became her agent, selling her works to collectors at high prices, earning her the respect she deserved as a gifted artist. Everybody wanted an O'Keeffe... In 1923, Stieglitz held a major exhibit of Georgia O'Keeffe's work at the Anderson Galleries, over 100 paintings in various mediums were shown, in what was to be the first of many annual showings of her work. When Stieglitz's wife divorced him in 1924, he asked Georgia to marry him, but it took some effort to finally convince her to do so, since she did not really believe that doing so would bring the two any closer than they already were; 1924 was also the year she made her first painting of a single large flower, which would eventually become her most famous subject. A year later the couple moved to the Shelton Hotel in New York, where they would remain for 12 years. It was around that time Georgia began painting cityscapes, no doubt inspired by the spectacular view they had from their 30th floor apartment. Three years later, Georgia had had enough of the city as a subject, and felt the need to travel again. She took a trip to New Mexico, the first of many for years to come, where she would paint, inspired by the the mountains and deserts of the region and mysterious aura of the place. She referred to landscape as "the faraway", and would travel its dusty roads in a Model A Ford, with the back seat removed so she could stop and set up her canvas to paint.
Andy Warhol was born on September 28, 1930 (?), in Forest City, Pennsylvania, the son of Czechoslovakian immigrants Andrei Warhola and Julia Zavacky Warhola. Andy grew up in a depressing environment, a Philadelphia neighborhood plagued by poverty and crime. Andy, the youngest of three sons, was a very shy child who was picked on by bullies at school. He was afflicted by Sydenham's Chorea, a rare childhood disorder which is characterized by irregular movements, some varying degrees of psychical disturbance, stemming from acute rheumatic fever., so he spent much time in his mothers care, forming a bond with her that would last for many years to come. Later on, Andy's parents were able to afford moving to a better place, so they settled in Oak Land. Andy spent most of his time with his mother and girl friends, going to the movies with best friend Margie Girman, with whom he collected autographed photos of stars which were handed out following screenings at the local theater; it was around that time that he developed a passion for drawing, and many of the photos he had collected were later used in the creation of his famous prints.
Andy also spent much time with his mother, and was known by many of the neighborhood kids as a "mamma's boy". Of course, he was also picked on by kids at school, as it is with any shy withdrawn artistic child. Although he showed incredible talent at school, he did not partake in any of its artistic clubs or activities because of the fact that he was too shy, and his abilities also superior to the other students'. In his senior year of high-school, the nightmare soon to be over, Andy applied to both the University of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Institute of Technology, which is now known as now Carnegie Melon University. He was accepted to both but ultimately chose to attend Carnegie Tech. Although he was a gifted artist, Andy did not do well at Carnegie Tech; he found it difficult to deal with the competitive attitudes of the school and its students, and also had a hard time fitting in, even though he was surrounded by others with whom he had much in common. Andy failed his courses, but since his worked showed true talent, his teachers made him sign up for summer school in order to take remedial classes so he could apply for readmission in the fall.. He was later readmitted to Carnegie Tech based on an impressive collection of sketches he had done during the summer, his drawings were put on display. and he awarded the forty-dollar Leisser Prize for his work.
With graduation on the horizon, Andy had to decide whether he would he would remain close to his mother and take a teaching job, or move away. After graduation, and much to his mother's chagrin, he decided to go to New York city, where he moved in with a friend and soon found work as a commercial illustrator, creating artwork for magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Still, Andy wasn't yet a complete success, and he lived through some lean times, moving from one dilapidated apartment to the next. Andy Warhol was rapidly gaining a solid reputation as a reliable artist with a good work ethic, no doubt based on the fact that he would often burn the midnight oil to present clients with multiple versions for each assignment. Aside from magazine illustrations, he also designed store displays, and greeting cards.
Andy's mother missed her son, and decided to move to New York in order to be closer to him. It was around that time that he changed his name from Warhola to Warhol, and began wearing his now trademark silver-haired wig. Andy was soon ready to have his first major showing; his "15 Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote", opened at the Hugo Gallery in New York, and the exhibit was a great success, and the struggling artist would not only earn more praise, but also gain substantial profits from selling his pieces. A few years later, he was also part of an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, where he gained more respect from the critics. Influenced by his work as a commercial illustrator, Andy began creating series of works based on common brand name items such as Campbell Soup Cans and Coke bottles. Andy soon moved into a larger studio loft, which would later be known as "The Factory". Soon thereafter, he created a series of silk-screen images based of the many photographs of pop culture icons he had collected as a teen.
The Factory attracted many of New York's artistic misfits and elite. It seemed everyone from socialites, models, filmmakers, and starlets such as Edie Sedgwick were becoming part of the scene. It was then that Andy Warhol met many of his frequent collaborators such as art film director Paul Morrissey, who used The Factory as a studio. It was during those years that Andy Warhol created his best work, dabbling in almost every medium that could be explored, including film. Andy did not only create pop art based on commercial products and cultural icons, he also experimented with his darker side, in a series called "Death and Disaster". These works did not appeal to his regular fans, and the experiment was soon shelved, only to be revisited during the 1980s. The next thing he did following the "Death and Disaster" series was a simple painting based on poppies. The piece was a success, and Warhol had regained the admiration of his fans. The factory wasn't just a studio and hangout, it was also an opportunity for up-and-comers and wannabes to try and find success through Andy's generous. was also where he helped up and coming artists find success. Artists such as Valerie Solanas, a Factory groupie turned feminist radical and founder of SCUM (The Society for Cutting Up Men).
Rembrandt van Rijn
Rembrandt van Rijn was born on July 15, 1606, in Leiden, the Netherlands. His father was a Miller who wanted his son to get an education and achieve professional success, so Rembrandt was sent to the University of Leiden, where he studied science and anatomy; it was there he gained the knowledge of the human anatomy which would serve him during his artist's career. Rembrandt wanted to paint more than anything else, so he left University to study painting under Jacob I. van Swanenburch, learning about Italian Renaissance artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo Buonarroti, but he was influenced by the work of Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio, a revolutionary artist known for his unorthodox use of lighting, and the disturbingly erotic manner in he presented his subjects, even biblical figures.
A while later, Rembrandt studied under Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, who taught him the chiaroscuro (light and darkness) technique. Shortly thereafter, Rembrandt returns to Leiden to set up his own studio, beginning work on a series of self-portraits. What sets Rembrandt's style apart from that of Lastman's is his composition; like in the works of Caravaggio, Rembrandt's background composition remains dark, while his subject is illuminated in a manner which makes the image appear nearly three dimensional.
Shortly after the death of his father in 1930, Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam. His reputation as a portraitist had grown, and he was now being commissioned to create portraits for individuals, and groups; it was such a commission from a well known physician that had brought him there in the first place; The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolas Tulp was to become one of the most important paintings in Rembrandt's career, showing the artist's revolutionary vision and mastery of lighting; while most group paintings of the era featured individuals sitting, or standing in line, Rembrandt's painting offered a narrative, as if a photograph had been taken while its subjects were involved in the action of a moment. Needless to say, the painting cause quite a stir, but in this case a positive one, as Rembrandt's patrons were very impressed with his work.
Rembrandt was now an established artist. In 1634, Rembrandt became a member of the Guild of St. Luke, a position which gained him more work, and the money he received from his various commissions for portraits and religious paintings allowed him to live the life of a wealthy man. he met the woman who was to be the love of his life, Saskia van Uylenburgh, who was the daughter of the burgomaster of Leeuwarden in Friesland. The two were married, and moved into their new home on the Nieuwe Doelenstraat, hoping to start a family. Saskia also modeled for several of Rembrandt's paintings, and the way in which he portrayed her always echoed the love in his heart.
In February of 1636, the couple's first born child, Rombartus, who was only a few weeks old, died. The tragedy had a profound effect on Rembrandt, and while he and his wife were still very much in love, there were other troubles, such as many disputes between Saskia and her relatives over financial matters. Two years later, the couple's newborn daughter Cornelia also dies, merely two weeks old. Another two years pass, and another daughter is born, she too, suffers the same fate as the other children. In 1641, Saskia gives birth to a son, Titus, who survives. But in a cruel twist of fate, it is Saskia herself who dies in 1642, leaving Rembrandt in a hopelessly depressed state. Rembrandt's life, like his art, is also fraught with contrast; for every bright moment, there seems to be an equally dark opposite, as if the artist were cursed into never living in peace. It was also in 1942 that Rembrandt painted the most important work of his career, The Company of F.B. Cocq, or The Night Watch, as it is more widely known.
The Night Watch, which had been commissioned by F.B. Coq, is not well received at all because it is too unconventional, and this only serves to add to Rembrandt's despair. In need of a nurse to take care of his son, he hires Geertge Dircx, who at first helps him take care of the household and his son, but who later stirs trouble when constant quarreling and jealousies arise following the hiring of a second woman, Hendrickje Stoffels, whom he falls in love with and plans to marry. Dircx even took Rembrandt to court, on the grounds that he had promised to marry her, but Hendrickje testifies, and Geertge Dircx is sent to prison for her attempt at defrauding the court. Stoffels later became Rembrandt's common-law wife, giving birth to their daughter Cornelia, which in light of all recent events signaled the advent of better days.
Over the years, Rembrandt had become accustomed to living comfortably, if not beyond his means, and the debts had been piling up. Having become a teacher to supplement the household income did not help, and there were fewer requests for his work. In 1556, Rembrandt is forced to obtain a 'Cessio Bonorum' from the High Court which allows him to declare bankruptcy, while maintaining his honor. In order to make ends meet, Rembrandt has to sell many of his paintings, some furniture, until eventually, even the house is auctioned off. In 1658, the family move to a smaller home where Hendrickje and Titus decide to protect Rembrandt's remaining and future canvasses from the creditors by starting their own art dealership, for which Rembrandt is only an employee, therefore not owning the works produced while in the company's service.
In 1663, Hendrickje Stoffels dies. Rembrandt, who is no stranger to tragedy and hardship, continues painting. The self portraits he creates during this dark period in his life only serve to remind us of the sadness and desperation in his heart. Perhaps he wished to transfer his chagrin onto the canvases, as a form of exorcism; or are the portraits only a mirror held up by a man trying to look into his own soul for answers?
Henri Matisse was born in 1869, at Cateau-Cambresis, France. He grew up in in Bohain-en-Vermandois, near the Belgian border, the son of a seed merchant. As opposed to most of the artists covered on this site, Matisse did not begin his artist's career at a very young age. In 1889, he studied law to become clerk, but a bad case of appendicitis, and the sojourn in the hospital made him take up painting as a way to occupy his convalescing time, and two years later, he decided to abandon law, and take up art studies.
After a brief stint at the Académie Julian, Matisse enrolled at the prestigious École des Beaux Arts in Paris, where he only stayed for two years due to his disillusionment with the curriculum, and artistic differences with the teachers. After discovering the works of van Gogh, Monet and the impressionists, he decided to make color the central focus of his work. As opposed to the impressionists, Matisse used bright colors, and seldom painted outside.
In 1898, Henri Matisse had married Amélie Parayre, who was also to take care of his illegitimate child, a daughter from a previous liaison. After he left the École des Beaux Arts, Matisse went on to study with French Symbolist painter Eugène Carrière. It was there he met André Derain, and the Fauvist movement was born.
As Monet had become the leader of the Impressionist movement, Matisse would soon take the lead with Fauvism, a style not unlike that of the impressionists, but where vivid colors are substituted for natural ones. Meanwhile, he and Amélie were going through some financial hardships, so she opened a hat store to make ends meet. The shop was successful enough to support the family while Henri continued painting.
During an exhibit at the Salon des Indépendants, where he met another Fauvist visionary, Maurice de Vlaminck. Monet himself continued exploring his bold use of colors, and in 1904, he had enough canvasses to hold his first solo exhibit at the Galerie Vollard, where none, but the most groundbreaking artists had their works shown. The exhibit was a success, and the who's who of art collectors were buying Matisse's paintings.
Matisse was not one to rest on his laurels, and he continued studying various styles including primitive art, and the work of painters in other disciplines. He traveled a lot, recording images of foreign people and places in his mind for further inspiration. Matisse spent time in the south of France, where he could work in a peaceful atmosphere. Matisse not only painted, but he also experimented with sculpture and lithographs.
Merely a decade after his first showing, Matisse was now considered one of the most important artists of the new century, and his talent was appreciated worldwide. He had an exhibit with Pablo Picasso at the Paul Guillaume Gallery in Paris in 1918; he designed costumes for the presentation of Shostakovich's Le Rouge et le Noir by the Ballets Russes; he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur In 1925, and he won first prize at the Carnegie International Exhibition in 1927.
Matisse continued to travel, but focused mainly on shuttling between Paris and the Riviera. It was also around this time that things were turning sour between he and his wife, and the two were soon separated. With World war Two on the horizon, and his own personal problem, Henri Matisse's health took a turn for the worse. Henri Matisse was diagnosed with duodenal cancer.
Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840, in Paris. A few years later, his family moved the the Normandie harbor town of Le Havre, where his father ran a marine trade supply store. Monet spent most of his youth in Le Havre, drawing caricatures of the locals, a talent which got him into trouble at school. Claude was a rebel, and he frequently disobeyed the rules.
Regardless of her son's insubordination in school, Louise Monet was very encouraging of her son's budding talent. By the age of fifteen, Claude was selling caricatures for as much as 20 francs, which did not please his parents, who were well off from their prosperous business. Nonetheless, Monet continued drawing caricatures, and wasn't really interested in painting until he met Eugène Boudin, the man who would become his mentor. Boudin encouraged the young Monet to go outside and paint nature scenes, playing an important role in the young artist's development.
Louise Monet died shortly following her son's very first showing, but his Aunt, Marie-Jeanne, soon took over the care and support of the gifted teen, who was showing signs of true talent as a painter.
Claude went on to study at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, but being a true rebel as always, rejected the schools traditional attitudes towards art, and left to study at the Académie Suisse, where he further refined his skills and met with fellow artists Camille Pissarro and Gustave Courbet.
Following a short stint in the military, Monet returned to Le Havre where he met with another artist, Johan Barthold Jongkind, who also helps shape his style. Shortly thereafter, Monet joins the studio of Swiss painter Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he meets with other gifted artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and and Frédéric Bazille, giving birth to the impressionist movement. It was clear even then that Monet was quickly becoming the leader of this group, instigating debates, and nurturing a rebellious attitude from his peers towards the artistic establishment.
But it wasn't until a year later, when Monet discovered the work of Edouard Manet at Martinet's where his work was being shown, that he would find true inspiration. Claude Monet then paints "en plein air", in the forest of Fontainebleau, with his friend Bazille.
Inspired by Manet, Claude Monet worked on large canvases, and by then, he had become such a perfectionist that he refused to paint unless the light of the sun reflected exactly the way he wanted it. In one instance even had a trench dug, and a large canvas mounted on ropes and pulleys, so her could work without having to lose his line of sight.
Although Monet mostly painted nature scenes, he sometimes included human figures in his paintings. One day, he had his friend Bazille, and a lady named Camille Doncieux pose for a painting of a Picnic (Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe); little did he know she would one day become his lover, his wife, and the subject of many of his works.
Frida Kahlo, was born on July 6th, 1907, in Coyoacàn, a part of Mexico City, one of four daughters to Matilde Calderón and Guillermo Kahlo. However, Frida often claimed to have been born in 1910, the year of the Mexican Revolution. Frida was of both European, and Mexican heritage. Frida's entire life was plagued with suffering, Stricken with Polio at the age of six, one of her legs would remain smaller than the other, which of course attracted stares and teasing from other children. The young Frida, already showing incredible strength of character, decided she was going to be a doctor, which at the time, was not a common profession for women. But it was at the age of fifteen that her life-altering tragic accident occurred. In 1925, as she was returning home from school, a tram crashed into her bus. She was found barely alive, covered in gold dust, and with a handrail stuck through her body; her spine and pelvis were broken, and so were her right leg, and foot.
It was while recovering from her extensive injuries in the hospital that Frida began to paint. Although Frida's family sacrificed almost all they had in order to get her the best available care, but she never fully recovered, and was forced to used braces and custom made corsets in order to be able to just walk and stand. Frida's parents even had a special easel custom made to accommodate her condition. Frida gave up on becoming a doctor, and decided to continue painting. Her accident had not only changed the course of her life, it would also prove to be a main source of inspiration for her work, which was mostly comprised of sometimes disturbing self-portraits, images of death, and suffering.
In 1929, the 22 year-old Frida marries the 43 year old Diego Rivera, a famous painter of murals who would soon thereafter become her husband. The two were drawn together on many levels, first off, was art, then Communism, and also their interest in traditional Mexican Indian culture. The two were part of the Communist party for a short while, but they were ousted because of Diego's opposition to Joseph Stalin's crackdown on Trotsky's Left Opposition. Although the couple did share intense passion, Frida had been left barren by her accident, so they never had children; this was also a central theme in her work, and in some of her self-portraits, Frida would include her pet spider monkey as a surrogate child, looking like the infant Christ of Religious icons. Many of her paintings were also quite bloody, and included internal organs shown on the outside, again, comparisons to images of Christ and the "Sacred Heart" can be made, but we would greatly be wrong to think her work was the product of a self-centered individual.
When she wasn't too occupied with her involvement in politics and intellectual discussion groups, Frida also spent time teaching at La Esmeralda art school. Although Rivera had been instrumental in her success, he considered her an equal, and although he was often unfaithful to Frida, he was never disloyal. Rivera had mistresses, and Frida had lovers, including some women, and Marxist writer Leon Trotsky, whom the couple had gracefully welcome into their home, offering asylum during dangerous times. Frida and Diego divorced in 1939, but they remarried in 1940, realizing their passion was stronger than their physical needs, and that their relationship could work if they tried to control their temperaments.
In addition to Diego's admiration, Frida also impressed artists and critics worldwide. French surrealist André Breton played a major part in bringing her work to the attention of Americans. Although she appreciated Breton's respect, she was quick to deny claims that she was part of the surrealist movement, simply stating, "I never painted my dreams. I painted my own reality." Frida's reality was a reality of passion, and of suffering. In 1953, Frida's leg was amputated, shortly thereafter, on July 13, 1954, at the age of 47, she died in her sleep, apparently from an embolism. There is a fair bit of speculation that she took her own life, escaping the pain of her existence. Frida Kahlo was the first Latin-American woman to sell a painting for a million dollars, and her popularity seems to grow with each passing year; from endorsements by popular artists such as Madonna, to a critically acclaimed bio-pic starring acclaimed actors Salma Hayek, and Alfred Molina.
Francisco de Goya
Francisco Jose de Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Spain, on March 30th, 1746. His family later relocated to Saragossa, where Goya came to be under the tutelage of local artist Jose Luzan. A few years later, after a sojourn in Italy to study, Goya returned to Saragossa where he received his first commission, painting frescoes in the Cathedral of El Pilar. Goya got the commission through Francisco Bayeu, a fellow artist also from Aragón, who they say was influential in helping Goya develop his earlier style. Bayeu was also the brother of Josefa Bayeu, whom Goya married in 1773. It was also around that time that Goya became involved in the creation of several other frescoes, influenced by the paintings of Velásquez and Rembrandt. It is interesting to note that like Rembrandt, Goya and his wife had several children who did not reach adulthood. Only one of his sons survived.
In addition to his several frescoes, Goya created designs for a tapestry factory in Madrid, painting scenes of everyday life in Spain. His worked were very sought after, and in 1780 he was elected to the Royal Academy of San Fernando. Shortly thereafter, he was named painter to King Charles IV, who was perhaps the most educated of the Spanish Monarchs of the era, and ultimately appointed Goya to the post of court painter. Goya painted portraits of the social elite, but he also continued making more tapestries. This was the height of Goya's artistic career, and he was at this point, considered the most successful, sought after and admired of all Spanish artists.
Alas, tragedy struck, and Goya was stricken with a mysterious illness that left him completely deaf. Later, after the death of his friend and brother-in-law Francisco Bayeu, he took over his duties as Director of Painting in the Royal Academy from 1795 to 1797, when he resigned due to ill health. Two years later, in 1799, he was given the title of First Spanish court painter. Being only capable of communicating via sign language or handwriting, Goya became a silent observer of the world around him. Surprisingly enough, his work took an unexpected twist, and he developed a more caricature-like style with which he created several satirical illustrations based on human weakness and his own whimsical imaginings. The etchings were published under the title Los Caprichos, meaning "the whims. Goya had broken the barriers imposed by classical training, eschewing the Rococo tradition, and was now opening up new avenues which would ultimately lead to his being referred to as the father of modern art.
From 1808 to 1814, the time of Napoleon's occupation of Spain and the war of independence, he served as court painter to the French. His work became a testament to the horror of war; the Disasters of War, a series of starkly realistic etchings on the atrocities of war, remained hidden for many years, only to be published in 1863, long after Goya's death. When the war was over and the Monarchy was restored, Goya was granted a full pardon for having served the French court, but unfortunately, the new King was not as impressed with Goya as his predecessor had been. Perhaps Goya's most controversial paintings, that of the naked Maya came under scrutiny by the Spanish Inquisition, who demanded an explanation for the outrageous piece. Nudes weren't commonplace in 18th century Spain, and the new regime did not offer a favorable climate for those wishing to work outside of traditional religious art.
Goya regained some degree of popularity after publishing a series of etchings on Bullfighting called "Tauromaquia". In 1819, he moved to a secluded and soon thereafter moved to a private residence outside of Madrid, where he gave free reign to his fevered imaginings. He covered the walls of his home with his "Black Paintings" Their vivid depictions of witchcraft, the horrific Saturn Devouring one of his Children and other dark subject matter were perhaps the artist's way of thumbing his nose at the inquisition, with images that conveyed the very essence of heresy. But it wasn't the first time Goya had chosen to take this dark path, his series on the Napoleonic invasion and an etching entitled The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters were perfect examples of the artist being in touch with his dark side. It was also around that time that Josepha, his wife passed away. Soon thereafter, Goya took into his home a lady named Leocadia who had a five-year-old daughter Rosalie whom Goya came to love as if she were his own. A few years later, seeing there would be no return to a liberal regime in Spain, Goya packed his belongings and moved to France, in self-imposed exile. Goya settled in Bordeaux, where he would continue working, experimenting with techniques such as lithography, which was very popular in France around that time. On April 16, 1828, Goya suffered a massive stroke, and died at the age of 82.
Francisco Goya was the Father of Modern Art, his idea that the artist's personal vision had more importance than his subject opened new ways of thinking which helped art break free from commissioned portraits and religious imagery. Goya's artistic career lasted over 60 years, and in that time he showed an incredible evolution from Baroque all the way through his own groundbreaking style. Artists ranging from Manet to Pablo Picasso have cited his work as being influential in their development. Goya painted for himself, his view of the world, and his candor gave his work resonance that would not only inspire, but also enlighten.
René François-Ghislain Magritte was born on November 21st, 1898, in Lessines, Belgium, the eldest of three boys. Even at an early age, he liked to draw, and was encouraged to do so by his father Léopold. He later started painting at the age of 12. Régine Bertinchamp, Magritte's mother, suffered from depression; one night, while the rest of the family was asleep she fled to go to throw herself over a bridge, into the river Sambre. A few days later, her body is found floating, her face covered by her nightgown; René, who was then only 14, was deeply scarred by the image, which was later going to reappear in some of his works (The Heart of the Matter).
At the age of 16, Magritte met Georgette Berger, the girl who would be his future wife and creative muse. A year later, in 1914, he left Georgette behind, and he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels to learn how to paint with all the "proper" techniques usually attributed to artists who worked in the figurative style, his plan was to master these techniques before breaking free of them. He would not see his beloved Georgette again until 1920, when by chance he would meet her at an art supply store.
While studying at the Academy of Fine Arts, Magritte met many artists who would influence his style, amongst them were E.L.T Mesens, Pierre Flouquet, and Piérre Bourgeois. He also showed some interest in the Futurist movement, and Cubism, but it was when he discovered Giorgio De Chirico's surrealist works that he found true inspiration. It was from this inspiration that Magritte decided to make each of his painting a visual poem; a quality he found present in De Chirico's works.
In the fall of 1923, René Magritte married Georgette Berger, wallpaper artist. At that time, he develops a profound dislike for the decorative arts. He later would state: "I detest my past, and anyone else's. I detest resignation, patience, professional heroism and obligatory beautiful feelings. I also detest the decorative arts, folklore, advertising, voices making announcements, aerodynamism, boy scouts, the smell of moth balls, events of the moment, and drunken people."
In 1927, Magritte joined André Breton, Paul Eluard, Salvador Dali, and other artists and writers who were part of the surrealist movement in Paris. Magritte held his first one-man exhibit was in Brussels in 1927, and as it was with his contemporaries, his art drew the ire of the critics and the conservative art crowd. But what made Magritte's work so special was his incredible skill at painting realistic objects and figures. The critics could not deny his talent, nor could they dismiss his work as an exercise in "laisser-faire". Like De Chirico, and Dali, he was a true technician, and a technician with soul. What set him apart from the other surrealists was his technique of juxtaposing ordinary objects in an extraordinary way; while Dali would "melt" a watch, playing with the consistency of an object (amongst other things), Magritte would leave objects intact, but play with their placement in reality, playing with logic. This technique is sometimes called Magic Realism. Of course, what really upset the critics was that Magritte's art did not provide answers, but only confusion, and questions as to why...
In 1929, Magritte and poet Paul Eluard spent some time in Cadaquès, at Salvador Dali's residence. Dali is perhaps the only other surrealist who's work could be compared to Magritte's. Both shared impeccable technique, and a great sense of humor. Another thing which may have angered critics was Magritte's "parodies" of famous paintings; like other surrealists, his irreverence and contempt for the norm was quite apparent in his work. It is evident that the humor magazines such as Harvey Kurtzman's Mad, and comedy troupes such as Monty Python owe much to the surrealists.
Salvador Dali is perhaps the best known artist from the surrealist art scene, but he is not just a surrealist; his works have covered many different styles from impressionism to his own take on the classical style, and all reflect his mastery of the medium.
Dali was raised in the small farming community of Figueras, Catalogna, Spain, a place which inspired many of the landscapes found in his oeuvre. Since he was the son of a wealthy notary, Dali also had the luxury of spending time at his family's summer home, working in a studio his parents had built for him. Later, he attended the prestigious San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, where he further honed his already impressive skills, albeit in a climate of conflict, brought on by creative differences with his teachers.
His first solo exhibition took place in Barcelona in 1925. Three of his painting were later shown in America, at the third annual Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928, bringing him international acclaim at the age of 24.
Perhaps the most important, and influential figure in Salvador Dali's life was Gala. The pair had met in 1929, at Dali's Cadaques residence, where she and her then husband, poet Paul Eluard were visiting the artist. Gala soon became Dali's mistress, and later, she became his wife, muse, and reason for living; she figures prominently in many of Dali's most inspired works.
While living in Paris, Dali joined forces with a group of artists who called themselves the surrealists, then led by former Dadaist André Breton. Other surrealist artists of note were Marcel Duchamp, and René Magritte. The group lived their art, and sought to provoke the conservative artistic elite of the day with a series of manifestos, performances, and parodies of classical paintings such as LHOOQ, a bearded Mona Lisa painted by Duchamp.
One of Dali's earliest works in the genre, and perhaps one of his most famous, is The Persistence of Memory. Dali soon came to be regarded as the leader of the surrealist movement, but once again, the maverick genius refused to find comfort within a niche, and he would often disagree with his contemporaries, particularly with their strong political views, so he was tried, and expelled from the group in 1934, as the second world war burgeoned across Europe.
Dali work during the early 1940s showed the artists preoccupation with religion, and science, perhaps, he found much inspiration within it's conflicting views. This came to be known as his "classic" period.
As the war progressed, Dali and Gala had to leave their Europe, and move to America; by then, he had gained international recognition through a series of successful exhibits around the world, so he was welcomed with open arms by Hollywood, where he provided concepts and artwork for a dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound".
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, to artist and teacher Jose Ruiz Blasco, and his wife Maria Picasso. A decade later, young Pablo Picasso learned how to paint from his father, who had been appointed teacher at the Da Guarda art school in La Coruna.
Later, when his father was appointed teacher to the La Lonja academy in Barcelona, and just a year later, Pablo was admitted to the drawing class of the academy after having shown tremendous aptitude.
Pablo Picasso the n took a trip to France where he discovered the work of master artist Toulouse Lautrec, perhaps it was Lautrec's fascination with the female form, and with street walkers in particular that influenced Picasso to paint Les Demoiselles d'Avignon", the piece which brought on his first big break.
1900 to 1907, saw Picasso's Blue and Rose Periods, and it was within this timeframe that the artist was fascinated by the dregs of society, he would focus on painting images of prostitutes, the poor, the unfortunate, and the street urchins.
He was working very hard during this time, illustrating magazines, and having his work shown in galleris such as Berthe Weill's, in Paris. It was also then that he met Guillaume Apollinaire, Leo and Gertrude Stein, and Henri Matisse, who was to become Picasso's long time friend.
Shortly after that, Picasso started the Cubist movement with fellow artists Georges Braque and Joan Miro. Cubism is best defined as the exact reproduction of an image as seen from different angles simultaneously. What made Picassos' cubist paintings is the amount of human emotion he would maintain within the multi-faceted figures.
Pablo Picasso had many women in his life, from Fernande Olivier, and Eva Gouel, to Olga Koklova, a Russian ballerina whom he had met around the same time he met composer Igor Stravinsky. Olga gave birth to a son, Paul; but Pablo left her shortly afterwards, and fathered a daughter, Maia, with Marie-Thérese Walter, who had also been his model, and was now his muse and mistress. Marie-Thérèse was also the mother of his son Claude, and his daughter Paloma.
Other Important women in Picasso's life include Dora Maar, Francoise Gilot, Jacqueline Rocque, whom he married at the age of 80.
One of Picasso's least endearing traits was his treatment of women. Perhaps the result of a life-long search for a soul mate, and his disillusionment at never being able to find a true friend. Picasso himself was quoted as saying: "I have had no true friends, only lovers."
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30th, 1853 to Theodorus van Gogh, and Anna Cornelia Carbentus, in Zundert, a village in Brabant, in the Netherlands. It is important to note that Vincent's brother Theo was born four years later, as he would become a prominent figure in Vincent's life.
Vincent's first exposure to the art world was when he worked at the Hague gallery of the French art dealers Goupil & Co., which had been established by his uncle Vincent. His brother Theo later worked for the same company. After working for the art dealers, Vincent took the job of assistant teacher, and preacher in a boarding school in England, but this was short lived and his obsession with evangelical Christianity made him want to become a clergyman like his father, so he tried to enroll in a theology school, but was refused admittance.
Vincent later enrolled in a missionary school in Belgium, determined to help those in need, and preach to the poor. He preached and lived amongst the miners in southern Belgium, but his fanatical attitude, and pious lifestyle were such that the church did not renew his appointment fro the following year. After much though and meditation on the subject, Vincent decided to become an artist, feeling this was his last recourse at doing God's work.
Penniless, Vincent worked independently as an artist in Brussels, while his brother Theo supported him by sending him money. van Gogh later returned to the Hague to take painting lessons from his cousin Anton Mauve. His talents soon emerged, and in very little time, he had developed his own unique style.
van Gogh's bold use of color, and composition were first made evident in a series of paintings of the Hague, commissioned by his uncle Cornelis. van Gogh's fascination with the poor, and the working class were the subject of many of his early works, the first, a series he painted while Drenthe, in the northeastern Netherlands, followed by a series of 40 portraits he painted.
Theo, who had been helping his brother survive lean months, was also helping him sell his paintings, albeit at a turtle's pace; this distressed Vincent, and led to conflicts between the two of them. Later, shortly after his father's passing, van Gogh finished his first masterwork, The Potato Eaters; he later left the Netherlands, and returned to Belgium, settling in the town of Antwerp. This was a wise move for van Gogh, who was able to find models, supplies, and ideas for his work.
He enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp, but quit after two months due to the stifling atmosphere of the school, and their antiquated concepts. van Gogh had finally become the artist's artist.
He later moved in with his brother in Montmartre, France, where he discovered the works of Monet and other French Impressionists, and met with Gauguin, and Henri deToulouse Lautrec, this would be the turning point in van Gogh's career, as he enrolled in the highly praised Fernand Cormon workshop where he learned to use light and color in novel ways.
Michelangelo Buonarroti was of noble birth, but was not raised by his parents. His father had him brought up by a stone carver and his wife, because his own wife was too ill to take care of the child. While living with his surrogate parents, young Michelangelo learned the skills that would serve him throughout his life., but his father was displeased when his son told him he wanted to be an artist, and it took much convincing for Michelangelo to be permitted to further his apprenticeship.
Michelangelo went on to study sculpture at Medici gardens, where, like Leonardo da Vinci, his talent was allowed to flourish by Lorenzo de Medici, patron of the arts, and ruler of Florence, who introduced him to the great thinkers of the renaissance.
Following his sojourn at Medici gardens, Michelangelo went to Bologna, then to Rome, where he saw the impressive marble statues which he would later echo in his own works. Upon his return, he set out to create his first complete sculpture, as statue of Mary holding Jesus' lifeless body, known as La Pietà. His first large scale commissioned work was the statue of Bacchus for a sculpture garden.
Shortly thereafter, he created one of his most important works, the statue of David, a commissioned piece symbolizing the liberation of the republic of Florence. Michelangelo truly had achieved fame as an artist, and his talent became sought after by Pope Julius II, who asked him to embark on a very demanding artistic journey, a commission to paint the ceiling of the Sistine chapel in the Vatican.
At first, Michelangelo, who had been busy painting frescos in Pope Julius' tomb, refused his successor's request, feeling that the undertaking of such a monumental task would take him away from his first love, that of sculpture, but the Pope insisted, and his word prevailed.
Ironically, Michelangelo's work on the chapel ceiling far exceeded the original outline of the commission, which called for twelve paintings instead, he covered the entire ceiling with over 300 figures, from The Creation of Adam to Noah and the great Deluge. It is interesting to note that the Pope did not object to the large amount of nude figures in the paintings. Michelangelo's portrayal of women has also been the subject of speculation as to his sexual preference, as his depiction of Eve shows her as having very masculine features.
The next big commission for Michelangelo came when he was asked to paint the altar wall by Pope Clement VII, shortly before his death. The fresco in question was that of The Last Judgment, a vivid rendition of the Apocalypse and of Heaven and Hell. In a comic twist, Biagio da Cesena, the master of ceremonies for the Vatican, who had denounced Michelangelo's use of nude figures as inappropriate, was cast by Michelangelo as Minos walking through Hell, a serpent biting his genitalia. Michelangelo himself appears on the fresco as the flayed skin of St-Bartholomew, and in the lower left hand corner, as one of the damned, looking earnestly at the dead, rising from their graves.
The Sistine chapel was to be the last of Michelangelo's paintings, with his focus returning to his first love, that of sculpting. Later, shortly before his death, it was decided that Michelangelo's nude figures would be censored, their sexes draped in cloth by an extra layer of paint.
"A man paints with his brains and not with his hands."
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo was born in Vinci, Italy on April 15th, 1452, the illegitimate son of a young notary. Leonardo grew up in an environment rich with scholarly texts and art, provided by his father, who himself taught Leonardo how to paint, and by his father's family. When he was in his late teens, Leonardo was sent to Florence to be an apprentice in the studio of famous renaissance sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio, where he met with other Renaissance artists Botticelli and Ghirlandaio, and continued honing his skills, which were proving to be greater than his teacher's...
Leonardo's first moment in the sun came when Verroccio asked him to help paint an angel in his "Baptism of Christ" piece. Leonardo so impressed his master that Verrochio himself decided he would never paint again. Leonardo continued working with Verrochio for a few years, and then the two parted ways.
Leonardo went on to be in the service of the Duke Ludovico Sforza of Milan, where he remained for 16 years. Leonardo didn't only paint for the Duke, but he also designed machinery, weapons, and a fair bit of architecture. Science and art were merged in an unending output of impressive works and studies. Leonardo's designs were so ahead of their time, that they even included plans for various assault vehicles, flying machines, and even a submarine.
Duke Sforza died shortly after the completion of one of Leonardo's most famous work, The Last Supper; Leonardo who had now lost his patron, and decided to leave Milan. He eventually returned to Florence after having traveled, lived, and worked for various patrons throughout Italy.
Shortly after his return to Florence, he and Michelangelo were commissioned to paint frescos on the walls of the new city hall. While he was working on his mural depicting the battle of Anghiari, which had been commissioned in part by Niccolo Machiavelli, Leonardo also painted his most famous work, theMona Lisa.
A short while later, Leonardo's father passed away, leaving his family to fight over the distribution of his assets, of which none went to Leonardo. It was only later and following the death of his uncle that Leonardo would inherit land and money.
Leonardo later went to Rome, and was given living quarters in the Vatican by Pope Leo X, so that he could further explore the arts while working on commissioned pieces for the Church. Leonardo did not create many new paintings during this period, concentrating on his drawings instead; it was quite difficult for Leonardo to pursue his studies of scientific subjects and anatomy while in the employ of the Pope, as the Church frowned upon the dissection of human cadavers.
But Leonardo who had had many patrons ranging from Duke Sforza, to the evil Cesare Borgia, was one who had no trouble adapting to his surroundings, and he did create several drawings including The Deluge, in which he portrayed the cataclysmic biblical event.
Thomas Hart Benton
Ralph Albert Blakelock
Clarence Holbrook Carter
Giorgio de Chirico
Theo van Doesburg
M. C. Escher
Joaquín Torres García
Vincent van Gogh
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Willem de Kooning
Kyung-hee Hong (born 1954), sculptor
Eugene J. Martin
Stanley Matthew Mitruk
G. P. Nerli
Nam June Paik
Niki de Saint Phalle
I. Rice Pereira
Veronica Ruiz de Velasco
Albert Pinkham Ryder
Austin Osman Spare
Nicolas de Staël
Bradley Walker Tomlin
Rafael Alfonso Umaña Mendez
Maurice de Vlaminck
Jan de Weryha-Wysoczanski
James Abbott McNeill Whistler