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The 10 Most famous painters of all time

27 January - 2023
by Vincent Moleveld
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Welcome to our blog where we will be discussing the top 10 most famous artists of all time. These artists have created some of the most iconic and enduring masterpieces in the history of art, and their influence can still be seen in the art world today.

Leonardo da Vinci 

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was an Italian artist, scientist, and inventor. He is widely considered one of the most important figures of the Renaissance, known for masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Leonardo was born in the small town of Vinci, Italy, and began his apprenticeship as an artist at the age of 14. He quickly established himself as a skilled artist and eventually moved to Florence, where he worked for some of the most powerful families of the time. It was in Florence where he began to work on some of his most famous works, such as The Last Supper and the Vitruvian Man.

Leonardo's artistic talents were not limited to painting and drawing, he was also an accomplished sculptor, architect and engineer. He was a true polymath, a person of wide-ranging knowledge and learning. He was interested in a wide range of scientific and technical fields, including anatomy, engineering, and botany, and he made many drawings and studies in these areas.


 Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci
Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci


The Mona Lisa, arguably his most famous painting, is a perfect example of his mastery of technique and his ability to create an air of mystery and intrigue. The painting's subject, the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, has captivated audiences for centuries. This painting is considered one of the greatest works of art of all time.

Michelangelo

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) was an Italian artist, sculptor, and architect. He is considered one of the most important figures of the Renaissance, known for masterpieces such as the David sculpture and the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Michelangelo began his apprenticeship as an artist at the age of 13 and quickly established himself as a skilled sculptor. He was particularly well-known for his sculptures of the human form, which were considered to be some of the most realistic and expressive of the time.

Michelangelo's most famous works include the sculptures of David and Pieta, and the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. David is considered one of the most famous sculptures in the world, and is a masterpiece of Renaissance art. The Sistine Chapel ceiling is considered one of the greatest works of art of all time, and it depicts scenes from the Book of Genesis.


David, completed by Michelangelo in 1504, is one of the most renowned works of the Renaissance.
David, completed by Michelangelo in 1504, is one of the most renowned works of the Renaissance.


Michelangelo's influence on the art world was significant, and his work continues to be celebrated and studied today. He was known for his technical skill, his attention to detail and his ability to convey emotion through his art. He was a true master of his craft and his legacy continues to inspire artists today.

Vincent van Gogh 

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work, notable for its beauty, emotion and color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. He is considered one of the most famous painters of the Post-Impressionist era, despite the fact that he sold only one painting during his lifetime. Vincent van Gogh moved to Paris in 1886, where he was exposed to the works of the Impressionists, which had a strong influence on his work. He painted with bold colors and thick brushstrokes, creating works that were powerful and emotive.

His most famous works include Starry Night, Sunflowers, and The Potato Eaters. Starry Night is considered one of the most famous paintings in the world, and it is an iconic representation of Van Gogh's unique style. Sunflowers is a series of paintings that is also considered one of the most famous series of paintings in history, and it is a representation of Van Gogh's love for nature. The Potato Eaters is considered one of his most important early works, it is a painting of a peasant family eating potatoes, which is a representation of the simple life that he loved to depict.


Sunflowers (F.458), repetition of the 4th version (yellow background), August 1889. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Sunflowers (F.458), repetition of the 4th version (yellow background), August 1889. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam


Despite the lack of commercial success during his lifetime, Van Gogh's influence on art is undeniable. His bold use of color and expressive brushstrokes, as well as his emotional intensity, continue to inspire artists today. His tragic life story, marked by poverty and mental illness, also adds to the allure of his work and legacy.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish artist who is widely considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, stage designer and writer. He co-founded the Cubist movement and is best known for co-inventing the revolutionary art form known as Cubism. Picasso's work can be divided into several distinct periods, each marked by its own unique style and subject matter.



His early works, known as the "Blue Period," featured somber, blue-toned paintings of people on the margins of society. His "Rose Period" featured more cheerful and colorful paintings, often depicting circus performers. His "African-influenced" period produced works that were more abstract, with bold lines and geometric shapes. His most famous works include Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Guernica and The Old Guitarist.

Johannes Vermeer 

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) was a Dutch painter known for his highly realistic and detailed depictions of domestic scenes. He is considered one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age, and his work is renowned for its use of light and color. Vermeer's paintings are known for their serene and peaceful atmosphere, which is achieved through his masterful use of light and shadow. 


Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665
Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665


His most famous works include Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Milkmaid, and View of Delft. Girl with a Pearl Earring is considered one of the most famous paintings in the world, it is also known as "the Mona Lisa of the North" and it is a representation of Vermeer's masterful use of light and color. The Milkmaid is another famous painting which is considered a masterpiece of Dutch Golden Age painting, it is a representation of Vermeer's ability to depict everyday life with great realism and beauty.

Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was a Dutch painter and printmaker who is considered one of the greatest artists in the history of art. He was a master of chiaroscuro, the use of light and shadow to create depth and volume in a painting. Rembrandt's paintings are known for their psychological complexity and emotional intensity. 

He was also a master of self-portraiture, creating over 60 self-portraits during his career. His most famous works include The Night Watch, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, and Bathsheba at Her Bath. The Night Watch is considered one of the most famous paintings in the world, it is a representation of Rembrandt's ability to create a sense of movement and drama in a painting. 


Isaac and Rebecca, Known as ‘The Jewish Bride’, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1665 - c. 1669
Isaac and Rebecca, Known as ‘The Jewish Bride’, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1665 - c. 1669


The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is another famous painting that is a representation of Rembrandt's ability to create a sense of realism and scientific accuracy in a painting. Bathsheba at Her Bath is a painting that depicts the biblical story of Bathsheba, it is considered a masterpiece of Rembrandt's late career and it is a representation of his ability to create a sense of intimacy and sensuality in a painting.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a French painter and one of the founders of the Impressionist movement. He is known for his series of paintings that capture the changing moods and colors of nature, particularly his series of paintings of water lilies, haystacks, and the Rouen Cathedral. Monet's paintings are known for their use of light and color, and his technique of applying small, broken brushstrokes to create a sense of movement and atmosphere. 


Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (right section), 1865–1866, Paris, with Gustave Courbet, Frédéric Bazille and Camille Doncieux, first wife of the artist, Musée d'Orsay
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (right section), 1865–1866, Paris, with Gustave Courbet, Frédéric Bazille and Camille Doncieux, first wife of the artist, Musée d'Orsay


His most famous works include Impression, Sunrise, Water Lilies and Haystacks. Impression, Sunrise was the painting that gave the Impressionist movement its name, it is a representation of Monet's ability to capture the fleeting effects of light and color. Water Lilies is a series of paintings that Monet created during his later years, it is a representation of his ability to capture the serenity and beauty of nature. Haystacks is a series of paintings that Monet created during the 1890s, it is a representation of his ability to capture the changing moods and colors of nature.

Edgar Degas 

Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was a French artist known for his paintings, sculptures, and drawings of dancers and modern life. He was a leading member of the Impressionist movement, but he preferred to be called a realist. Degas' work is known for its emphasis on movement, as well as its attention to detail and the human form. He often used unusual perspectives and cropping in his compositions, and his pastel colors give his paintings a unique and vibrant feel. His most famous works include The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, Ballet Rehearsal, and Women in the Bath. 


A Cotton Office in New Orleans, 1873
A Cotton Office in New Orleans, 1873


The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years is a sculpture of a young ballerina, it is considered a masterpiece of Degas' early career and it is a representation of his ability to capture movement and gesture in sculpture. Ballet Rehearsal is a painting that depicts dancers practicing, it is considered a masterpiece of Degas' mature career and it is a representation of his ability to capture movement and atmosphere in a painting. Women in the Bath is a painting that depicts women bathing in a public bath, it is considered a masterpiece of Degas' late career and it is a representation of his ability to capture the everyday life with great realism and beauty.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) was a Spanish Surrealist painter and artist. He is best known for his striking and bizarre images, which often featured melting watches and other surreal elements. Dalí's work was heavily influenced by his interest in psychoanalysis and the subconscious mind. He was also known for his flamboyant and eccentric personality. His most famous works include The Persistence of Memory, The Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, and The Temptation of Saint Anthony. 


 Salvador Dalí 1939
Salvador Dalí 1939


The Persistence of Memory is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings, it is a representation of Dalí's ability to create a sense of dreamlike atmosphere and to play with the perception of time and space. The Dream caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening is a painting that depicts a dreamlike state, it is a representation of Dalí's ability to create a sense of mystery and fantasy in a painting. The Temptation of Saint Anthony is a painting that depicts the story of Saint Anthony and his temptation by the devil, it is a representation of Dalí's ability to create a sense of symbolism and religious themes in a painting.

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was a French artist who is widely regarded as one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. He was a prominent figure in the Fauvism movement, which was known for its use of vivid colors and bold brushstrokes. Matisse's paintings often featured simplified forms and emphasized the use of color to create a sense of movement and rhythm. His works span a wide range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and collage.


Blue Nudes Henri Matisse
Blue Nudes Henri Matisse


Matisse's art underwent significant transformations throughout his career, reflecting his evolving interests and influences. In his later years, he suffered from health issues that limited his mobility, leading him to explore new ways of working. This led to his development of cut-outs, a technique in which he would cut shapes out of colored paper and arrange them to create vibrant, dynamic compositions. Matisse's innovative approach to art continues to inspire and influence artists today