Rembrandt HARMENSZOON VAN RIJN (b. July 15, 1606, Leiden, Neth.--d. Oct. 4, 1669, Amsterdam), Dutch painter, draftsman, and etcher of the 17th century, a giant in the history of art. His paintings are characterized by luxuriant brushwork, rich colour, and a mastery of chiaroscuro. Numerous portraits and self-portraits exhibit a profound penetration of character. His drawings constitute a vivid record of contemporary Amsterdam life. The greatest artist of the Dutch school, he was a master of light and shadow whose paintings, drawings, and etchings made him a giant in the history of art.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on July 15, 1606, in Leiden, the Netherlands. His father was a miller who wanted the boy to follow a learned profession, but Rembrandt left the University of Leiden to study painting. His early work was devoted to showing the lines, light and shade, and color of the people he saw about him. He was influenced by the work of Caravaggio and was fascinated by the work of many other Italian artists. When Rembrandt became established as a painter, he began to teach and continued teaching art throughout his life.
In 1631, when Rembrandt's work had become well known and his studio in Leiden was flourishing, he moved to Amsterdam. He became the leading portrait painter in Holland and received many commissions for portraits as well as for paintings of religious subjects. He lived the life of a wealthy, respected citizen and met the beautiful Saskia van Uylenburgh, whom he married in 1634. She was the model for many of his paintings and drawings. Rembrandt's works from this period are characterized by strong lighting effects. In addition to portraits, Rembrandt attained fame for his landscapes, while as an etcher he ranks among the foremost of all time. When he had no other model, he painted or sketched his own image. It is estimated that he painted between 50 and 60 self-portraits.
In 1636 Rembrandt began to depict quieter, more contemplative scenes with a new warmth in color. During the next few years three of his four children died in infancy, and in 1642 his wife died. In the 1630s and 1640s he made many landscape drawings and etchings. His landscape paintings are imaginative, rich portrayals of the land around him. Rembrandt was at his most inventive in the work popularly known as The Night Watch, painted in 1642. It depicts a group of city guardsmen awaiting the command to fall in line. Each man is painted with the care that Rembrandt gave to single portraits, yet the composition is such that the separate figures are second in interest to the effect of the whole. The canvas is brilliant with color, movement, and light. In the foreground are two men, one in bright yellow, the other in black. The shadow of one color tones down the lightness of the other. In the center of the painting is a little girl dressed in yellow.
Rembrandt had become accustomed to living comfortably. From the time he could afford to, he bought many paintings by other artists. By the mid-1650s he was living so far beyond his means that his house and his goods had to be auctioned to pay some of his debts. He had fewer commissions in the 1640s and 1650s, but his financial circumstances were not unbearable. For today's student of art, Rembrandt remains, as the Dutch painter Jozef Israels said, "the true type of artist, free, untrammeled by traditions."
The number of works attributed to Rembrandt varies. He produced approximately 600 paintings, 300 etchings, and 1,400 drawings. Some of his works are: St. Paul in Prison (1627); Supper at Emmaus (1630); The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632); Young Girl at an Open Half-Door (1645); The Mill (1650); Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer (1653); The Return of the Prodigal Son (after 1660); The Syndics of the Drapers' Guild (1662); and many portraits.
Limburg (or Limbourg) Brothers, Netherlandish manuscript illuminators, Herman, Jean (Jannequin), and Paul (Pol), all three of whom died in 1416, presumably victims of the plague or other epidemic. Pol was probably the head of the workshop, but it is not possible to distinguish his hand from those of his brothers.
They were born in Nijmegen, nephews of Jean Malouel, and Herman and Jean are first documented in the late 1390s apprenticed to a goldsmith in Paris. In 1402 Jean and Pol were working for Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and after Philip's death all three Limburgs worked for his brother Jean, Duc de Berry, remaining in his service until their deaths and holding privileged positions at his court, which moved with him around France from one magnificent residence to the next. He was, indeed, one of the most extravagant patrons and collectors in the history of art, and the Limburgs illuminated two manuscripts for his celebrated library: the Belles Heures (Met. Museum, New York, c. 1408) and the Tr賠Riches Heures (Mus饠Cond鬠Chantilly), which was begun c. 1413 and left unfinished at their deaths; it was completed by the French illuminator Jean Colombe (c. 1440-93?) about seventy years later.
The Tr賠Riches Heures is by common consent one of the supreme masterpieces of manuscript illumination and the archetype of the International Gothic style. Its most original and beautiful feature is the series of twelve full-page illustrations of the months--the first time a calendar was so lavishly treated--full of exquisite ornamentation and beautifully observed naturalistic detail. The miniatures are remarkable, too, for their mastery in rendering space, strongly suggesting that one or more of the brothers had visited Italy, and they occupy an important place in the development of the northern traditions of landscape and genre painting.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, Renaissance architect and poet. While he made few forays beyond the arts, 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 and fellow Florentine Leonardo da Vinci.
Michelangelo's output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and the David, were sculpted in his late twenties to early thirties. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential fresco paintings in the history of Western art, on the ceiling and altar wall (The Last Judgement) of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Later in life he designed the dome of St Peter's Basilica in the same city and revolutionised classical architecture as he had done every other discipline he mastered, with invention of the giant order of pilasters.
Uniquely for a Renaissance artist, two biographies were published of Michelangelo during his own lifetime. One of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that he was the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance, a viewpoint that continued to have currency in art history for centuries. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino ("the divine one"), an appropriate sobriquet given his intense spirituality. One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur, and it was the attempts of subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo's impassioned and highly personal style that resulted in the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance, Mannerism.
Salvador Felip Jacint Dalí Domènech (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989), known popularly as Salvador Dalí, was a Catalan-Spanish artist who became one of the most important painters of the 20th century. A skilled draftsman, he is best known for his surrealist work identified by its striking, bizarre, dreamlike images. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. In addition to painting, his artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, photography, and an Academy Award–winning short cartoon, "Destino," on which he collaborated with Walt Disney; it was released posthumously in 2003.
An artist of great imagination, Dalí had an affinity for doing unusual things to draw attention to himself. This sometimes irked those who loved his art as much as it annoyed his critics, since his eccentric manner sometimes drew more public attention than his artwork.
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso (Málaga, October 25, 1881 – Paris, April 8, 1973) was a Spanish painter and sculptor. One of the most recognized figures in 20th century art, he is best known as the co-founder, along with Georges Braque, of cubism. One of the most prolific artists of all time, he produced around 13,500 paintings, even more drawings than that, 2,500 original prints, 1,000 different ceramics, and 700 sculptures in other media. Given that many of the prints and ceramics were released in an average of seventy-five editions (though the edition sizes varied widely), the total number of original Picasso works is over a quarter of a million.
Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de (1864-1901). Many immortal painters lived and worked in Paris during the late 19th century. They included Degas, C麡nne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Seurat, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Toulouse-Lautrec observed and captured in his art the Parisian nightlife of the period.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born on Nov. 24, 1864, in Albi, France. He was an aristocrat, the son and heir of Comte Alphonse-Charles de Toulouse and last in line of a family that dated back a thousand years. Henri's father was rich, handsome, and eccentric. His mother was overly devoted to her only living child. Henri was weak and often sick. By the time he was 10 he had begun to draw and paint.
At 12 young Toulouse-Lautrec broke his left leg and at 14 his right leg. The bones failed to heal properly, and his legs stopped growing. He reached young adulthood with a body trunk of normal size but with abnormally short legs. He was only 1.5 meters tall.
Deprived of the kind of life that a normal body would have permitted, Toulouse-Lautrec lived wholly for his art. He stayed in the Montmartre section of Paris, the center of the cabaret entertainment and bohemian life that he loved to paint. Circuses, dance halls and nightclubs, racetracks--all these spectacles were set down on canvas or made into lithographs.
Toulouse-Lautrec was very much a part of all this activity. He would sit at a crowded nightclub table, laughing and drinking, and at the same time he would make swift sketches. The next morning in his studio he would expand the sketches into bright-colored paintings.
In order to become a part of the Montmartre life--as well as to protect himself against the crowd's ridicule of his appearance--Toulouse-Lautrec began to drink heavily. In the 1890s the drinking started to affect his health. He was confined to a sanatorium and to his mother's care at home, but he could not stay away from alcohol. Toulouse-Lautrec died on Sept. 9, 1901, at the family chateau of Malrome. Since then his paintings and posters--particularly the Moulin Rouge group--have been in great demand and bring high prices at auctions and art sales.
The first object of the painter is to make a flat plane appear as a body in relief and projecting from that plane.
-- Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo DA VINCI (b. 1452, Vinci, Republic of Florence [now in Italy]--d. May 2, 1519, Cloux, Fr.), Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. His Last Supper (1495-97) and Mona Lisa (1503-06) are among the most widely popular and influential paintings of the Renaissance. His notebooks reveal a spirit of scientific inquiry and a mechanical inventiveness that were centuries ahead of his time.
Degas, (Hilaire-Germain-) Edgar (b. July 19, 1834, Paris, Fr.--d. Sept. 27, 1917, Paris)
French artist, acknowledged as the master of drawing the human figure in motion. Degas worked in many mediums, preferring pastel to all others. He is perhaps best known for his paintings, drawings, and bronzes of ballerinas and of race horses.
The art of Degas reflects a concern for the psychology of movement and expression and the harmony of line and continuity of contour. These characteristics set Degas apart from the other impressionist painters, although he took part in all but one of the 8 impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886. Degas was the son of a wealthy banker, and his aristocratic family background instilled into his early art a haughty yet sensitive quality of detachment. As he grew up, his idol was the painter Jean Auguste Ingres, whose example pointed him in the direction of a classical draftsmanship, stressing balance and clarity of outline. After beginning his artistic studies with Louis Lamothes, a pupil of Ingres, he started classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts but left in 1854 and went to Italy. He stayed there for 5 years, studying Italian art, especially Renaissance works.
Returning to Paris in 1859, he painted portraits of his family and friends and a number of historical subjects, in which he combined classical and romantic styles. In Paris, Degas came to know ɤouard Manet, and in the late 1860s he turned to contemporary themes, painting both theatrical scenes and portraits with a strong emphasis on the social and intellectual implications of props and setting.
In the early 1870s the female ballet dancer became his favorite theme. He sketched from a live model in his studio and combined poses into groupings that depicted rehearsal and performance scenes in which dancers on stage, entering the stage, and resting or waiting to perform are shown simultaneously and in counterpoint, often from an oblique angle of vision. On a visit in 1872 to Louisiana, where he had relatives in the cotton business, he painted The Cotton Exchange at New Orleans (finished 1873; Mus饠Municipal, Pau, France), his only picture to be acquired by a museum in his lifetime. Other subjects from this period include the racetrack, the beach, and cafe interiors.
Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) was a Mexican painter of the indigenous culture of her country in a style combining Realism, Symbolism and Surrealism, an active communist supporter, and wife of the Mexican muralist and cubist painter Diego Rivera.
Kahlo was noted for her unconventional appearance, declining to remove her facial hair (she had a small mustache and unibrow which she exaggerated in self portraits), and for her flamboyantly styled clothing, drawn largely from traditional Mexican dress.
Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), was an American artist, avant-garde filmmaker, writer and social figure. Warhol also worked as a (magazine) publisher, music producer and actor. With his background and experience in commercial art, Warhol was one of the founders of the Pop Art movement in the United States in the 1950s.
Warhol is best known for his extremely simple, larger-than-life, high-contrast color paintings (silk-screen prints) of packaged consumer products, everyday objects - such as Campbell's Soup, poppy flowers and the banana appearing on the cover of the rock music album The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) - and for his stylized portraits of twentieth century celebrity icons - such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Judy Garland, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Outside the art world, Warhol is best known for the quotation "In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." He later told reporters, "My new line is, 'In fifteen minutes, everybody will be famous'".
Mary Stevenson Cassatt (May 22, 1844 – June 14, 1926) was an American painter. She lived much of her adult life in France, where she befriended Edgar Degas and exhibited with the Impressionists. Cassatt (pronounced ca-SAHT) specialized in painting the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children
Gogh, Vincent (Willem) van (b. March 30, 1853, Zundert, Neth.--d. July 29, 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris), generally considered the greatest Dutch painter and draughtsman after Rembrandt. With C麡nne and Gauguin the greatest of Post-Impressionist artists. He powerfully influenced the current of Expressionism in modern art. His work, all of it produced during a period of only 10 years, hauntingly conveys through its striking colour, coarse brushwork, and contoured forms the anguish of a mental illness that eventually resulted in suicide. Among his masterpieces are numerous self-portraits and the well-known The Starry Night (1889).
Martini, Simone (circa 1280-1344), Italian painter, who was one of the most original and influential artists of the Sienese school. Simone was born in Siena. Building on the techniques for indicating three-dimensional space developed by the Sienese master Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone added a refined contour of line, grace of expression, and serenity of mood. He painted many frescoes, introducing the fresco technique into the Sienese school. He also painted altarpiece panels, such as the Virgin and Child (1320) for the Church of Saint Catherine in Pisa.
Simone lived in Assisi for a time, where he produced one of his greatest frescoes, illustrating scenes from the life of St. Martin for the chapel of St. Martin. In 1339, at the request of Pope Benedict XII, he went to Avignon, where he executed frescoes in the papal palace and the cathedral. Among his works are Saint John the Baptist (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and The Annunciation (1333, Uffizi Gallery, Florence), considered one of the greatest achievements of the Sienese school.
Caravaggio (1573-1610). Probably the most revolutionary artist of his time, the Italian painter Caravaggio abandoned the rules that had guided a century of artists before him. They had idealized the human and religious experience.
He was born Michelangelo Merisi on Sept. 28, 1573, in Caravaggio, Italy. As an adult he would become known by the name of his birthplace. Orphaned at age 11, he was apprenticed to the painter Simone Peterzano of Milan for four years. At some time between 1588 and 1592, Caravaggio went to Rome and worked as an assistant to painters of lesser skill. About 1595 he began to sell his paintings through a dealer. The dealer brought Caravaggio to the attention of Cardinal Francesco del Monte.
Through the cardinal, Caravaggio was commissioned, at age 24, to paint for the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. In its Contarelli Chapel Caravaggio's realistic naturalism first fully appeared in three scenes he created of the life of St. Matthew. The works caused public outcry, however, because of their realistic and dramatic nature.