7 Most Famous Artists. From Leonardo da Vinci to Vincent Van Gogh.

Vincent Van Gogh. Self-portrait with cut off ear and tube.

Their names are a sign of quality. They are familiar even to those who are infinitely far from the world of art. Each of them was a special phenomenon of its time.

Someone had the role of discoverer, someone is very mysterious, someone surprises with realism – they are so different, but unique.

These artists have become a symbol of the era, country, style.

Leonardo da Vinci. Great and Powerful.

Leonardo da Vinci. Self-portrait.
Leonardo da Vinci. Self-portrait. 1512. Royal Library of Turin, Italy.

Artworks of this artist, inventor, musician, anatomist and, in general, “universal man” still surprise us.

Thanks to his pictures, world painting has reached a new qualitative level. He moved towards realism, comprehending the laws of perspective and understanding the anatomical structure of man.

Leonardo da Vinci. Vitruvian Man.
Leonardo da Vinci. Vitruvian Man. 1490. Gallery of the Academy, Venice.

He depicted ideal proportions in the drawing “Vitruvian Man”. Today, he is considered both an artistic masterpiece and a scientific work.

The most recognizable artwork of a genius is Mona Lisa.

Leonardo da Vinci. Mona Lisa.
Leonardo da Vinci. Mona Lisa. 1503-1519. Louvre Museum, Paris.

Here we see the main achievement of Leonardo in painting. Sfumato, a blurry line and superimposed shadows in the form of haze.

Therefore, we got such a lively image. And the feeling that Mona Lisa is talking now.

Today, the name of the mysterious Gioconda is brutally corrupted by caricatures and Internet memes. But from this she did not become less beautiful.

You can read about the master’s artworks in the article “5 masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci”.

Also read about Leonardo’s recently found masterpiece in the article “Savior of the World”. 5 interesting details of the picture”.

Jerome Bosch. Extraordinary and Mysterious.

Jacques le Buch. Portrait of Jerome Bosch.
Jacques le Buch. Portrait of Jerome Bosch. 1550.

Half-people, half-mutants, huge birds and fish, unprecedented plants and crowds of naked sinners … All this is mixed and woven into multi-figure compositions.

Jerome Bosch is very recognizable. And his most famous artwork is the triptych “Garden of Earthly Delights”.

Jerome Bosch. Garden of Earthly Delights (fragment).
Jerome Bosch. Garden of Earthly Delights (fragment). 1505-1510. Prado Museum, Madrid.

There is no other artist who uses so many details to express ideas.

What ideas?

There is no consensus on this.

Many art historians devoted their dissertations and books to this artist, and sought the interpretation of his characters. But they did not come to any one opinion.

In the Garden of Earthly Delights, the right wing is dedicated to Hell.

Here the master set as his goal to frighten both the peasant and the educated contemporary with oppressive visions awaiting after death. Well … Bosch did it. Even we are a little uneasy …

Jerome Bosch. Garden of Earthly Delights. Right wing of the triptych "Hell".
Jerome Bosch. Garden of Earthly Delights. Right wing of the triptych “Hell”. 1505-1510. Prado Museum, Madrid.

But Bosch evolved over the course of his career.

Toward the end of life, multi-figured, large-scale works were replaced by a very close approximation to the heroes. So they barely fit into the frame. As, for example, in the artwork “Carrying the Cross.”

Jerome Bosch. Carrying the Cross.
Jerome Bosch. Carrying the Cross. 1515-1516. Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent, Belgium. Wga.hu.

Regardless of whether Bosch considers his heroes from afar or near, his message is one. He wants to show human vices. And reach out to us. Help us save our souls.

Read about the master also in the article “5 masterpieces of Jerome Bosch.”

Raphael. Light and Glorifying Beauty.

Raphael. Self-portrait.
Raphael. Self-portrait. 1506. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

The most famous representative of the Renaissance amazes with harmonious compositions and lyricism.

Depicting beautiful people is not as difficult as correctly placing them on the canvas. Rafael was a virtuoso in this.

Perhaps no master in the world has influenced his colleagues as much as Raphael did.

His style of drawing will be mercilessly exploited. His characters will wander from one century to another. And they will lose their relevance only at the beginning of the 20th century. In the age of modernism and avant-garde.

Remembering Raphael, we first of all think about his beautiful Madonnas. Over his short life (38 years), he created 20 paintings with her image. And never repeated.

Raphael. Sistine Madonna.
Raphael. Sistine Madonna. 1513. Old Masters Picture Gallery, Dresden, Germany.

The most famous is the Sistine Madonna. We see not a dry iconographic heroine, but a gentle mother, full of dignity and spiritual purity.

Just look at the mischievous angels! Such a true portrayal of childish immediacy is full of charm.

The most expensive work of Raphael was the sketch “The Head of the Young Apostle.” It was sold at Sotheby’s for $ 48 million.

Raphael. Sketch "Head of the Young Apostle."
Raphael. Sketch “Head of the Young Apostle.” 1519. Private collection.

The Italian painter, whom contemporaries appreciated for their softness and naturalness, is truly priceless today.

Rembrandt. Real and Poetic.

Rembrandt. Self-portrait at the Age of 63 Years.
Rembrandt. Self-portrait at the Age of 63 Years. 1669. National Gallery of London.

Rembrandt portrayed the world as it was. Without embellishment and varnishing. But he did it very heartily.

On the canvases of Rembrandt is a twilight, from which figures stand out, illuminated by a golden light. Beautiful in their naturalness. These are the heroes of his painting “The Jewish Bride.”

Rembrandt. Jewish Bride.
Rembrandt. Jewish Bride. 1662. The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

The fate of the greatest Dutch painter is like a springboard – from the unknown ascend to wealth and popularity, then later topple down and die in poverty.

It was not understood by contemporaries. They preferred beautiful everyday scenes with cute, carefully prescribed details.

Rembrandt portrayed human feelings and emotions, which was not at all fashionable.

Rembrandt. Return of the Prodigal Son.
Rembrandt. Return of the Prodigal Son. 1668. The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. Arthistory.ru.

Rembrandt groped his way and stubbornly walked along it. Despite lifetime oblivion. He created his main masterpieces during the years of this oblivion. But they have remained for centuries.

Goya. Deep and Bold.

Vicente Lopez Portany. Portrait of Francisco Goya.
Vicente Lopez Portany. Portrait of Francisco Goya. 1819. Prado Museum, Madrid.

Goya began his career with youthful ardor and idealism. He even became a court artist with the Spanish king.

But he was soon fed up with life, seeing the greed of the world, stupidity, hypocrisy.

Francisco Goya. Family Portrait of Charles IV.
Francisco Goya. Family Portrait of Charles IV. 1800. Prado Museum, Madrid.

Just look at his Royal Family Portrait. Here, Goya did not even try to smooth out empty facial expressions and the repulsive arrogance of the royal family.

Goya created many paintings reflecting his civic and human position. And the world knows him first of all as a bold truth-seeker artist.

Proof of this is the incredible work “Saturn Devouring his Son”.

Francisco Goya. Saturn Devouring his Son.
Francisco Goya. Saturn Devouring his Son. 1819-1823. Prado Museum, Madrid.

This is a cold-blooded, most honest interpretation of the mythological plot.

That is what the drowsy Kronos should have looked like. After all, he is terribly afraid that he can be overthrown by his children.

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Claude Monet. Colorful and Airy.

Claude Monet. Self-portrait in a Beret.
Claude Monet. Self-portrait in a Beret. 1886. Private collection.

Monet is considered the most prominent representative of impressionism. He has been devoted to this style throughout his long life. When the main characters are light and color, the lines disappear, and the shadows of any color except black.

His “Rouen Cathedral” shows how the subject changes if you look at it through the sun’s rays. Cathedral trembles, vibrates.

Claude Monet. Rouen Cathedral. Sunset.
Claude Monet. Rouen Cathedral. Sunset. 1892-1894. Marmottan Monet Museum, Paris.

Monet experimented a lot with strokes to convey not so much nature as impressions of her. This was the truth of being for him. This was more important than portraying a landscape or object, as in a photograph.

In recent years, the old artist painted his garden.

We can also look at one of the most picturesque corners of this garden in the painting “White Water Lilies”. It is stored in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

Claude Monet. White water lilies.
Claude Monet. White water lilies. 1899. Pushkin Museum, Moscow.

Vincent Van Gogh. Crazy and Sympathetic.

Vincent Van Gogh. Self-portrait with cut off ear and tube.
Vincent Van Gogh. Self-portrait with cut off ear and tube. January 1889. Zurich Kunsthaus Museum, Private Collection of Niarchos. Wikipedia.org.

He not only scandalized with Gauguin and cut off his earlobe. Van Gogh is a brilliant artist, appreciated only after his death.

He was a man who did not know such concepts as the golden mean and compromise.

When he was a shepherd, he gave the last shirt to the poor.

When he became an artist, he worked all day, forgetting about food and sleep. That is why in 10 years he created such a colossal legacy (800 paintings and 2 thousand drawings).

At first, Van Gogh’s paintings were grim. On it, he expressed unlimited sympathy for the poor people. And his first masterpiece was just such an artwork – “Potato Eaters”.

Here we see people tired of hard and monotonous labor.

So tired that they themselves looked like potatoes. Yes, Van Gogh was not realistic and hypertrophied the features of people to convey the essence.

Vincent Van Gogh. Potato eaters.
Vincent Van Gogh. Potato eaters. 1885. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

But viewers love Van Gogh for their bright, pure colors. His paintings became colorful after meeting the impressionists.

Since then, he has created many bouquets, summer fields and flowering trees.

Nobody before Van Gogh expressed their emotions and feelings in this way with the help of color. But after him – many. After all, he is the main inspirer of all expressionists.

It is even amazing how the master, who was deeply depressed, which would lead him to suicide, painted such a cheerful work as “Sunflowers”.

Vincent Van Gogh. Sunflowers.
Vincent Van Gogh. Sunflowers. 1888. The National Gallery of London.

About the master, please also read the article “5 Van Gogh’s masterpieces.”

Let’s summarize.

Thousands of artists lived in the world. But only a few could become so famous that almost every inhabitant of the Earth knows them.

Some of them lived 500 years ago, like Leonardo, Raphael and Bosch. And someone created at the end of 19th century, like Monet and Van Gogh.

What unites them all? They all, each in their own way, changed the time in which they lived. As art critic Alexander Stepanov said, only a mediocre artist lives in step with his time.

We are waiting for the next genius of the same scale.

Maybe he’s already doing right now. Jeff Koons? Damien Hirst? Or maybe David Hockney? What do you think?..


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