Art, I believe is unique and has a mind of its own. Therefore, each artist is unique in his/her own style but some artist have distinguished themselves in ways beyond one’s imagination. These are indeed great artist.
What makes a great artist? These are artist that have proofed that art is indeed timeless. They have pushed boundaries and created/spearheaded an art movement
In compiling this list, a holistic approach was adopted, with a deep study of various artist and their works, their individual contribution to art, how famous the artist are as well as their works, their exhibitions in notable galleries, the market value of their works, the artist influence in their respective eras and on later artist and the most written/talked about artist and their works.
This list stems from a deep study of the painters, their contribution to Western painting, and their influence on later artists. With no further ado, here is my top ten all-time greats.
- LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519)
A painter, scientist, inventor. Da Vinci is one of most famous painters in the world if not the most famous. His iconic work Mona Lisa remains the most famous painting of all time, the most visited, the most written and talked about, the most sung about and the most parodied work of art in the world. Another of Da Vinci’s paintings Salvatore Mundi, as of 2017 became the most expensive painting at approximately US$450million. His other notable work includes Last Supper.
2. MICHELANGELO (1475-1564)
An Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance. Michelangelo is considered by many scholars as the greatest artist of all time. 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, the fellow Florentine, Leonardo da Vinci. Some of his works like David, The Creation of Adam and Pietà are amongst the most famous and influential works of art.
3. VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
Dutch painter and one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. Although he was said to be commercially unsuccessful after selling only one painting – The Red Vineyards near Arles in his lifetime, and later at aged 37 committed suicide as a result of mental illness, depression, and poverty, his works later became one of the greatest influences in the twentieth-century painting, selling at record-breaking sums at auctions. One of the artists influenced by his works is Edvard Munch, the Norwegian expressionist painter who painted the famous The Scream.
Some of his famous works include the starry night and vase with fifteen sunflowers.
4. PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
A Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and theatre designer. He is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and is known for co-founding cubism. Some of his best-known works like Les Demoiselles d’Avignon were influenced by Traditional African Art. His other famous paintings were Guernica, the weeping woman, the old guitarist.
5. REMBRANDT (1606 – 1669)
A Dutch Baroque painter and printmaker, known as the “ Dutch Master” is regarded as one of the greatest storytellers in the history of art. His work Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit is one of the most expensive paintings in the world. His famous masterpieces include The Night Watch and The Return of the Prodigal Son.
6. CLAUDE MONET (1840 – 1926)
A French impressionist painter. Monet in his work captured the changeable influences of light on the panorama by bright shards of colour produced as quickly painted strokes. His famous paintings include Waterlilies, Women in Garden, and Impression Sunrise.
7. RAPHAEL (1483-1520)
An Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of the renaissance period. Raphael is regarded as one of the greatest geniuses of the Renaissance. Much of what we know about him comes from his biography, written by Florentine painter Giorgio Vasari.
8. JOHANNES VERMEER (1632 – 1675)
Regarded as one of the greatest landscape painters of all time, he specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. His painting Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of the most famous paintings in the world and in 2006, was selected as the most beautiful painting in the Netherlands.
9. CARAVAGGIO (1571-1610)
An Italian painter, he is widely considered the father of Baroque painting, with his spectacular use of lights and shadows. Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro became so famous that many painters started to copy his paintings, creating the ‘Caravaggisti’ style.
His paintings combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, which had a formative influence on Baroque painting.
10. SALVADOR DALÍ (1904-1989)
A Spanish surrealist artist renowned for his technical skill, precision and bizarre bit fascinating images in his work. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, would later become one of the most famous Surrealist paintings.