Critics & Connoisseurs

Critics are the professionals who judge the qualities of literary or artistic works, and communicate their assessment of various forms of creative works. There are professional critics who assess almost every imaginable art form from paintings to literature, from films to music, and from theater to architecture. They critique the art forms from the aesthetic angle, taking into consideration several factors. Connoisseurs, on the other hand, are individuals who are expert judges in matters of taste; they have a great deal of knowledge about a specific art form or cuisine. Italian portrait painter Giovanni Boldini, one of the best known artists of his time, was also a famed connoisseur of art. Known as the "Master of Swish" because of his flowing style of painting, he was a true expert in the genre of portrait painting. Critics and connoisseurs work in a number of fields. Coming to literature, Edgar Allan Poe, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Joyce Carol Oates are among the best known critics. In the modern era, films are also considered an art form. In this genre, Wesley Morris, Glenn Kenny, and Dana Stevens are counted among the expert film critics. Read on to know about famous critics & connoisseurs from all over the world.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood.
4
Famous As: Writer, Environmental Activist
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

 2 T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot.
4
Famous As: Poet, Essayist, Playwright
Birthdate: September 26, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: January 4, 1965
American-born British poet T. S. Eliot is best remembered for his poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, and Ash Wednesday, and his plays such as Murder in the Cathedral. He won the Nobel Prize for literature and became a prominent figure of Modernist poetry.  
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 3 Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin.
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 21, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States
Died: January 22, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin was an American author. In a career spanning almost six decades, Ursula wrote about political and social themes like race and sexuality. Throughout her career, Ursula had a major influence on speculative fiction. Her book A Wizard of Earthsea is credited with inspiring ideas like 'wizard school', which was later popularized in the Harry Potter series.

 4 Lewis Black

Lewis Black.
4
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: August 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
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 5 Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield.
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Famous As: Television Presenter
Birthdate: April 1, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oldham, Lancashire, England

Phillip Schofield is an English TV presenter. Over the years, Schofield has been playing an important role in the success of ITV's This Morning and Dancing on Ice. He is also a humanitarian as he has been serving as a patron of Shooting Star Children's Hospices, which aids families of children with terminal illnesses.

 6 Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory
4
Famous As: American critic
Birthdate: October 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

 7 Gloria Jean Watkins

Gloria Jean Watkins
4
Birthdate: September 25, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hopkinsville
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 8 Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: West Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Died: April 10, 1966

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an English author, known for his novels, biographies, and travelogues. Hailed as the most brilliant satirical novelist of his day, he wrote mostly satires before WWII. But during the war, his writings took a serious turn; he published Brideshead Revisited in 1945, a book that continues to appear on the best books list till now.

 9 Maria Altmann

Maria Altmann.
4
Listed In: Art Critics
Famous As: Art Collector
Birthdate: February 18, 1916
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 7, 2011

Maria Altmann was an Austrian-American Jewish refugee who fled her home country fearing the Nazis. She is remembered for her successful legal campaign to reclaim Gustav Klimt's family-owned paintings from the Government of Austria, which were stolen during the Second World War by the Nazis. Her life and career inspired documentary films, novels, and feature films, including Woman in Gold.

 10 Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keyser, West Virginia

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, historian, professor, filmmaker, and public intellectual. He is currently serving as the director of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Over the years Gates has been honored with several prestigious awards including the National Humanities Medal. In 1997, he was named in Time magazine's 25 Most Influential Americans list.

 11 Paul Schrader

Paul Schrader
4
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

 12 Gene Siskel

Gene Siskel
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Famous As: Journalist, Television presenter, Film critic
Birthdate: January 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: February 20, 1999

 13 Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin.
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Famous As: Philosopher, Cultural Critic, Essayist
Birthdate: July 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 27, 1940

Walter Benjamin was a German Jewish essayist, philosopher, and cultural critic. An eclectic thinker, Benjamin made significant contributions to literary criticism, aesthetic theory, and historical materialism. Although Benjamin's work did not earn much recognition during his lifetime, it continues to be revered by academics several years after his death.

 14 Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes.
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Famous As: French Literary Theorist & Philosopher
Birthdate: November 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cherbourg-Octeville
Died: March 25, 1980
Born to middle-class parents in France, literary theorist and critic Roland Barthes explored Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiology and influenced fields such as structuralism. His iconic works, such as Mythologies and The Death of the Author, influenced later thinkers. He died of injuries sustained in a road accident at 64.

 15 Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo.
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Famous As: Chinese Human Rights Activist
Birthdate: December 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Changchun, China
Died: July 13, 2017

Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese activist, literary critic, and philosopher. He is best remembered for organizing campaigns that aimed at ending the one-party rule in China. He was honored with the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle for human rights in China. Liu is the first Chinese citizen to be honored with a Nobel Prize while residing in China.

 16 Denis Diderot

Denis Diderot.
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 5, 1713
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Langres, France
Died: July 31, 1784

Denis Diderot revolutionized the Age of Enlightenment as the co-founder of Encyclopédie, which was banned for questioning religion. He had flirted with the idea of joining the theater and becoming a priest, and even studied law, but later devoted himself to languages, literature, and philosophy.

 17 Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn
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Listed In: Novelists
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian author Mark Steyn is best known for his bestselling books such as America Alone and After America. A political commentator and critic, too, he has been in the news for his controversial comments on the LGBT community. He has also hosted Fox shows such as Tucker Carlson Tonight.

 18 Danny Baker

Danny Baker
4
Famous As: Disc jockey, Presenter, Journalist, Music critic
Birthdate: June 22, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Deptford

 19 Robert Christgau

Robert Christgau
4
Famous As: Journalist, Reporter, Essayist, Writer, Music critic
Birthdate: April 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Greenwich Village

 20 Andre Aciman

Andre Aciman
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 2, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt

 21 Jacqueline Roque

Jacqueline Roque
4
Listed In: Art Critics
Famous As: choreographer, painter, model
Birthdate: February 24, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris
Died: October 15, 1986

 22 George Plimpton

George Plimpton
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Famous As: Journalists
Birthdate: March 18, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: September 26, 2003

 23 Mark Kermode

Mark Kermode
4
Famous As: Television presenter, Musician, Journalist
Birthdate: July 2, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chipping Barnet

 24 McCaughey septuplets

McCaughey septuplets
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Listed In: Literary Critics
Birthdate: 0000 AD

 25 Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 26, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 9, 1918

French poet Guillaume Apollinaire was a significant figure of the avant-garde movement. It is believed he had coined the terms Cubism, Surrealism, and Orphism. Known for his iconic poem Chanson du mal-aimé, written after being rejected by a lover, he also developed the typography-based concrete poetry in the collection Calligrammes.

 26 Harvey Pekar

Harvey Pekar
4
Famous As: Comics artist, Autobiographer, Writer, Music critic, Journalist
Birthdate: October 8, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cleveland
Died: July 12, 2010

 27 Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England, UK

 28 E. T. A. Hoffmann

E. T. A. Hoffmann.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 24, 1776
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Germany
Died: June 25, 1822

E. T. A. Hoffmann was a German author, jurist, artist, composer, and music critic. His stories served as an inspiration and laid the foundation for The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is also based on Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Hoffmann is among the most influential authors of the Romantic Movement.

 29 Kurt Loder

Kurt Loder
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Famous As: Film critic
Birthdate: May 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ocean City, New Jersey, U.S.

 30 Stanisław Lem

Stanisław Lem
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 12, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: March 27, 2006

 31 Michael Winner

Michael Winner
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: October 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England
Died: January 21, 2013

 32 Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi
4
Listed In: Food Critics
Famous As: Winegrower
Birthdate: June 18, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Virginia
Died: May 16, 2008

 33 Rex Reed

Rex Reed
4
Famous As: Actor, Film actor, Journalist
Birthdate: October 2, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fort Worth

 34 Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael
4
Famous As: Film critic, Writer, Journalist
Birthdate: June 19, 1919
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Petaluma
Died: September 3, 2001

 35 William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 23, 1849
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gloucester, England
Died: July 11, 1903

 36 Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

 37 Georg Simmel

Georg Simmel
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Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: March 1, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 26, 1918

 38 Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria von Weber
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 18, 1786
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Eutin, Germany
Died: June 5, 1826

 39 Sergei Diaghilev

Sergei Diaghilev
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Famous As: Art Critic
Birthdate: March 31, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chudovsky District, Russia
Died: August 19, 1929

Sergei Diaghilev was a Russian ballet impresario, patron, and art critic. He is credited with founding the popular ballet company Ballets Russes, which has produced some of the greatest and popular choreographers and dancers like Tamara Karsavina, Lydia Sokolova, Serge Lifar, and Alicia Markova. Sergei Diaghilev is remembered for placing the needs of his company and dancers above his own.

 40 Samuel R. Delany

Samuel R. Delany
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City New York, New York, US

Known for his science-fiction novels such as Dhalgren, Babel-17, and the Nèverÿon series, author Samuel R. Delany often touches upon themes of sex, race, and language. A descendant of civil rights activists, he dropped out of college to write. Though gay, he was once married to lesbian poet Marilyn Hacker.

 41 Fredric Jameson

Fredric Jameson
4
Famous As: Essayist, Political scientist, Writer, Professor, Literary critic, Sociologist, Journalist
Birthdate: April 14, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland

 42 Leonard Maltin

Leonard Maltin
4
Famous As: Journalist, Art historian, Film critic, Screenwriter, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: December 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City

 43 Johann Gottfried Herder

Johann Gottfried Herder
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 25, 1744
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Morąg, Poland
Died: December 18, 1803

German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder is best remembered as a significant figure of the Sturm und Drang literary movement. Born into poverty and largely self-educated till 17, he later became a disciple of Immanuel Kant and was associated with Enlightenment and Weimar Classicism. He was eventually ennobled.

 44 Terry Eagleton

Terry Eagleton
4
Famous As: Literary critic
Birthdate: February 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: County Borough of Salford Salford, England

English literary theorist and critic Terry Eagleton, presently serving as Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University, is a prominent critic of postmodernism and the New Atheism. His oeuvre includes over forty books among which Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), which describes the emerging literary theory of the period, is considered to be one of his most notable works.   

 45 Isabella Stewart Gardner

Isabella Stewart Gardner
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Listed In: Art Critics
Famous As: Art collector
Birthdate: April 14, 1840
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 17, 1924

 46 Lytton Strachey

Lytton Strachey
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 1, 1880
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 21, 1932

English biographer Lytton Strachey is best remembered for his masterpiece Eminent Victorians, which looks at the lives of Victorian figures such as Florence Nightingale and Thomas Arnold, using tools such as irony and paradox. He had also penned an award-winning biography of Queen Victoria. His short biographies discarded irrelevant details.

 47 Tom Verlaine

Tom Verlaine
4
Famous As: Guitarist, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 13, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Morristown

 48 Charles John Klosterman

Charles John Klosterman
4
Birthdate: June 5, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Breckenridge, Minnesota, United States

 49 Jay Rayner

Jay Rayner
4
Famous As: Presenter, Journalist, Food critic
Birthdate: September 14, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

 50 Frank O'Hara

Frank O'Hara
4
Listed In: Poets, Art Critics
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 27, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore, Maryland
Died: July 25, 1966
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