A Few Great Artists

  • Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519) Italian Renaissance artist who was most famous as a painter but also excelled at drawing (particularly the human anatomy), architecture and sculpture. More than 500 years after it was painted, his Mona Lisa remains perhaps the best-known painting in the world. Art fans have long debated the symbolism of the subject’s sly smile.
  • Rembrandt (1606–1669) Dutch Baroque artist whose hundreds of richly ornate paintings depict historical and biblical scenes. He also painted many portraits. One of his most famous is The Night Watch. Enormous in size, it shows a military company moving forward. His use of light draws the eye to the main figures in the painting.
  • Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890) Dutch Post-impressionist artist who painted nearly all of his most famous works over a period of 29 months, while suffering from mental illness. Many of his paintings reveal his emotional distress. Van Gogh painted Starry Night when he was in a French hospital. In the painting, probably his most famous, bright yellow stars and planets burst forth from the swirling night sky.
  • Louise Nevelson (1900–1988) American sculptor who created huge, abstract arrangements of stacked objects that were usually painted black, white or gold. She often used items that she found, including pieces of wood, broken mirrors and glass, metal and electric lights.
  • Salvador Dali (1904–1989) Spanish Surrealist artist known for his wild imagination. His paintings are eerily nightmarish and realistic. One of his most famous paintings, Persistence of Memory, features droopy watches that seem to be melting.
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) American painter who was a graffiti artist before being accepted into the art establishment as a rising star. He often incorporated graffiti and text into his paintings, which were powerful yet angry.
  • Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) American Abstract artist famous for his drip and pour style of painting. He dripped paint onto huge canvasses, creating complicated works with a splattered effect. In 2006, his painting titled No. 5 sold for $140 million, becoming the highest price ever paid for a painting.
  • Annie Leibovitz (b. 1949) American portrait photographer who often takes pictures of celebrities for magazines. She has earned celebrity status herself. At age 23 Liebovitz became chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine, where she worked from 1973 to 1983. She remains the best-known photographer of her generation.

Biographies of Famous Artists Art Museums on Display

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