Widely regarded as one of the greatest painters ever, Leonardo da Vinci was an extremely talented polymath. While his work The Mona Lisa became the most famous portrait, his drawing The Vitruvian Man became a cultural icon. A man well ahead of his time, Leonardo is also known for his notes on science and invention.
Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter and is said to be one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. However, he was not commercially successful in his lifetime and died by suicide at 37 after years of mental health issues and poverty. He gained recognition and respect in the 20th century.
Italian painter and architect Raphael, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, formed the great trio who ushered in the High Renaissance. He is mostly known for his frescoes of the Vatican Palace and The School of Athens. He also designed the Chigi Chapel, among other structures in Rome.
Max Ernst was a German painter, graphic artist, sculptor, and poet. A pioneer of the Dada movement, Ernst played an important role in popularizing surrealism during the early-20th century. He is also credited with inventing a couple of techniques, namely frottage and grattage. In 2005, the Max Ernst Museum was opened in his honor in Brühl, Germany.
Akira Toriyama is a Japanese character designer and manga artist. The creator of one of the most popular manga series of all time, Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama is widely considered one of the most influential artists to have changed the history of manga; his creation Dragon Ball is often cited as a source of inspiration by several manga artists.
Tom Franco is an American artist and actor. He is credited with founding the Firehouse Art Collective, an art gallery in Berkeley, California. The younger brother of actor and filmmaker, James Franco, Tom Franco followed in the footsteps of his brother to become an actor before exploring his skills as an artist.
French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau is best remembered for his erotic paintings of mythological and religious figures. His works were deeply influenced by Théodore Chassériau, his teacher, and later by the Italian Renaissance. The Apparition and Jupiter and Sémélé remain two of his best-known works.
Arshile Gorky, a powerful Armenian-American painter of 20th century, is counted among founding fathers of abstract expressionism. His experience, suffering and loss during Armenian genocide strongly influenced his development as an artist. With notable works like Landscape in the Manner of Cézanne and Nighttime, Enigma, Nostalgia, Gorky emerged as one of the major artists whose works defined American abstract expressionism.
Painter and printmaker James Ensor spent most of his life in the North Sea fishing port of Ostend, away from hustle-bustle of big cities. Yet, he left a significant influence on every aspect of the modernist movement; from symbolism and expressionism to dada and surrealism; also a signature style that involved radical distortion of form, muddled surface and riotous color.
Leonora Carrington was a Mexican artist, novelist, and surrealist painter. During the 1970s, Carrington played an important role in Mexico's women's liberation movement as she was one of the founding members of the movement. Carrington, who was fascinated by symbolism and myth, studied alchemy, Popol Vuh, post-classic Mayan mystical writings, and the kabbalah.
Born to an armyman father, Chris Barrie worked as a grave filler after dropping out of college. He then got a break on a TV show. Best known for his portrayal of Arnold Rimmer in the series Red Dwarf, he also gained fame with the BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire.
Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who started painting at an early age before going on to become the leading court painter in England. Although he is best remembered for painting the aristocracy, van Dyck also painted biblical and mythological subjects. In 1632, Anthony van Dyck received a knighthood from Charles I.
William Alexander was a German painter, television host, and art instructor. He is credited with creating the popular television series, The Magic of Oil Painting, which he hosted from 1974 to 1982 on PBS in the USA. Bill Alexander is also credited with teaching Bob Ross his signature wet-on-wet technique.
Japanese visual artist and illustrator Yoshitaka Amano is a renowned name in the animation industry. Apart from creating iconic characters such as Gatchaman, he has also illustrated for the video game series Final Fantasy. The Inkpot Award winner has also worked for two Vampire Hunter D movies.
Born in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, then part of Israel, Ami James began illustrating at age 6, perhaps to compensate for the absence of his artist father, who had abandoned the family. Mentored by tattooist Lou Sciberras, he now owns several tattoo studios and the online tattoo community Tattoodo.
Geneviève Castrée was a Canadian illustrator, cartoonist, and musician. She is best remembered for her book Susceptible, which earned her international success. A self-taught musician, Castrée went on to found her own music label in 2009 after releasing a couple of EPs. Geneviève Castrée died at the age of 35 due to pancreatic cancer.
Juan Gris was a Spanish painter whose paintings are counted among the Cubism movement's most distinctive works. Gris's works and style influenced the Purist style of Charles Edouard Jeanneret and Amédée Ozenfant. Some of his paintings, such as Still Life with Checked Tablecloth and The musician's Table, have sold for millions of dollars at the auction.
Matthew Barney is an American film director and contemporary artist best known for his work in the fields of film, sculpture, drawing, and photography. Barney's works explore connections between biology, geography, mythology, and geology. Over the course of his career, Matthew Barney has won several awards like the Hugo Boss Prize and James D. Phelan Art Award.
Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely pioneered the Op Art movement, using geometric angles and depth in works such as Vega-Nor. He initially worked as a graphic artist in advertising agencies and then created masterpieces influenced by Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. His work Zebra remains one of his best-known pieces.
Gutzon Borglum was an American sculptor remembered for his work on Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Borglum is also associated with other important public works of art like Georgia's Stone Mountain and a bust of Abraham Lincoln, which is currently preserved in the US Capitol crypt.
Agnes Martin was an American painter whose style was often considered minimalism although she considered herself an abstract expressionist. Martin's work served as an inspiration to several younger artists like Ellen Gallagher and Eva Hesse. In 1998, Agnes Martin was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Arts. Her life and career inspired documentaries like Agnes Martin: Between the Lines.
Peter Greenaway is a Welsh artist, film director, and screenwriter. He is best known for making films with common traits, such as the contrasts of nature and architecture, costume and nudity, sexual pleasure and painful death, and furniture and people. Some of his best-known films include The Pillow Book and Goltzius and the Pelican Company.
German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon was killed along with her unborn child by the Nazis at Auschwitz when she was barely 26. Her haunting memoir, Life? or Theater?, provides a graphic portrayal of her life through innovative transparencies and signature images. Its subtitle, singspiel, signifies it was a light opera.
Heinz Linge went from being a bricklayer to a Schutzstaffel official. He joined Adolf Hitler’s household staff, as his valet. Stationed at the Führerbunker with Hitler during the fall of the Nazis, he was eventually tasked with cremating Hitler’s body. Captured by the Red Army, he later penned a memoir.