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Top 10 Famous Artists Of All Time

Top 10 Famous Artists Of All Time

Museums and textbooks are full of the names of famous artists who have left their mark on history. Some names, nevertheless, stick out from the rest. These painters have achieved legendary status for certain reasons, such as their distinct style, participation in a significant art movement, or unique life choices. While these artists are now well-known in popular culture, many of them were not recognised for their abilities until years after their death. So who are the most famous painters in history? Grab your paints and let's take a look at some of our famous artists of all time! 

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Famous Artist #1: Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was born in Spain, but spent the bulk of his life in France. He began painting at the age of seven and kept painting and creating until he died at the age of 91. Pablo Picasso was quite prolific in his life. He produced roughly 50,000 works during his lifetime, including more than 1,800 paintings, 4,000 sculptures and ceramics, approximately 12,000 drawings, along with hundreds of prints. Tapestries and carpets were also created by Picasso. Pablo Picasso's distinctive artistic style evolved throughout his career. The Spaniard continued to break new artistic boundaries during his time, producing works that no one else had done before. Picasso is regarded as one of the twentieth century's most influential and important artists today.


Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • The Tragedy (1903) 
  • Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) 
  • Ma Jolie (1912)
  • Guernica (1937)
  • Les Femmes d’Alger (1955)


Famous Artist #2: Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was a genius who lived from April 15, 1452 to May 2, 1519. He is one of the most significant artists in history, having left an enormous impact not only in the field of art but also in science. He was outstanding in many other areas too, including drawing, painting, and sculpture. Although we don't have a lot of his artworks today, he is well-known for his work and achieved considerable recognition during his own time from his paintings. Leonardo's sketchbooks are truly remarkable. He kept diaries filled with drawings and sketches with some of his drawings a precursor to later paintings, while others were anatomical studies.


Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • Mona Lisa (1503–19) 
  • Last Supper (1495–98)
  • Vitruvian Man (1490)
  • Self Portrait (1490/1515–16)
  • The Virgin of the Rocks (1483–86)


Famous Artist #3: Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, born March 30, 1853, in Zundert, Netherlands was a Dutch painter, and considered one of the greatest of the Post-Impressionists. His artistic career was extremely short, lasting only 10 years from 1880 to 1890. Vincent van Gogh's painting style is characterized by vivid color, forceful brushstrokes, and concave shapes. His success is all the more amazing when you consider his brief career and the financial struggles and mental illness that he endured. Following his death, van Gogh's work experienced a surge in popularity, with record-breaking sales at auctions all over the world and exhibitions that visited blockbuster venues across the globe. 


Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • The Potato Eaters (1885)
  • Sunflowers (1888) 
  • Cafe Terrace at Night (1888)
  • The Bedroom (1888)
  • Starry Night (1889)


Famous Artist #4: Michelangelo

In his lifetime, Michelangelo was regarded as the greatest living artist, and since then he has been recognized as one of history's best artists. His artistic creations, including those in painting, sculpture, and architecture have a high reputation. Although the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are undoubtedly his most famous works, Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor first and foremost. Very interestingly, he wasn’t originally chosen to paint the Sistine Chapel - the pope at the time had chosen Raphael to paint the chapel.



Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508–1512) 
  • The Last Judgment (1534–1541)
  • The Torment of Saint Anthony (1487 – 1488)
  • David (1501–1504)
  • The Pietà (1498–1499)


Famous Artist #5: Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter whose work is among the most revered and appreciated in the history of art. Although only 36 of his paintings survive, these exquisite works are amongst the world's greatest treasures. Vermeer began his career in the early 1650s by painting biblical and mythical scenes on a large scale, but the majority of his later works—including those for which he is best known—feature everyday activities taking place in indoor settings. These paintings are remarkable for their purity of light and form, which exude an air of calm majesty.


Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665)  
  • Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (1662–65)
  • The Little Street (1657–61)
  • Girl with a Red Hat (1665–66)
  • View of Delft (1660–63)


Famous Artist #6: Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse, born 31 December 1869 and died 3 November 1954, was a French artist noted for his use of colour as well as his fluid and original drawing style. He is primarily recognized as a painter, however he also worked in other media like canvas and paper. Henri Matisse (alongside Pablo Picasso) are widely regarded as two of the most innovative artists who helped to define the revolutionary changes in painting and sculpture during the first part of the twentieth century, responsible for ground-breaking insights.


Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • Dance (1910)
  • The Joy of Life (1906)
  • Bathers by a River (1917)
  • Woman with a Hat (1905)
  • The Open Window (1905)


Famous Artist #7: Claude Monet

Claude Monet was a key figure in the Impressionist movement that revolutionized French painting in the second half of the nineteenth century. Monet painted Paris and its surrounds, as well as the Normandy coast, throughout his lengthy career. He pioneered twentieth-century modernism by experimenting with a distinct style that attempted to capture on canvas the natural process of nature. Monet took inspiration from people and places he knew best, choosing his subjects from his surrounding environment. His first and second wives, Camille and Alice, were frequently used as his models.


Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • Impression, Sunrise (1872)
  • La Grenouillère (1869)
  • Rouen Cathedral, Facade (Sunset) (1892–93)
  • Woman with a Parasol (1875)   
  • San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk (1908)


Famous Artist #8: Rembrandt

Rembrandt, a Dutch baroque painter and printmaker, was one of the greatest storytellers in the history of art, with an outstanding talent for depicting people in a variety of emotions and poses. Rembrandt is also recognized for his attention to light and shade, as well as his advocacy of a totally realist style that has led some critics to claim he preferred ugliness to beauty. Rembrandt began his career painting mostly portraits. He painted and etched, however, less frequently drew portraits throughout his long career. Around one-tenth of his painted and etched oeuvre consists of images of his face and more-formal self-portraits, which has fueled much discussion.


Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • The Night Watch (1642)  
  • The Jewish Bride (1667)
  • The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633)
  • Head of Christ (1648)
  • Bathsheba at Her Bath (1654)

Famous Artist #9: Salvador Dalí 

Salvador Dalí, a surrealist painter and printmaker renowned for his studies of subconscious imagery, was born in Figueres, Spain. Dalí assimilated a wide range of artistic genres during his art studies in Madrid and Barcelona, and he demonstrated remarkable technical skill as a painter. It was not until the late 1920s that two occurrences triggered his mature artistic style: his study of Sigmund Freud's writings on the erotic significance of subconscious imagery and his affiliation with the Paris Surrealists, a group of artists and writers who sought to establish the "greater reality" of the human subconscious over reason. Dalí began to trigger hallucinatory states in himself via a “paranoid critical” technique to bring up images from his subconscious mind.


Some of his most famous artworks include:

  • The Burning Giraffe (1937) 
  • Tuna Fishing (Homage to Meissonier)(1966 – 1967)
  • Galatea of the Spheres (1952)
  • Christ of Saint John of the Cross (1951)
  • The Persistence of Memory (1931)


Famous Artist #10: Frida Kahlo 

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is renowned for her self-portraits, suffering and passion, and vivid hues. Her devotion to Mexican and indigenous culture has made her a hero in Mexico. She's also known for depicting the female form, which have endeared her to feminists. Kahlo, who was afflicted with polio as a youngster and nearly died in a bus accident when she was 19, began to concentrate on painting while recuperating from her injuries. She underwent 30 operations during her lifetime. Frida created 143 paintings, including 55 self-portraits, during her time. 


Some of her most famous artworks include:

  • The Two Fridas (1939)  
  • Self Portrait with Cropped Hair (1940)
  • The Wounded Deer (1946)
  • The Broken Column (1944)
  • My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family Tree) (1936) 


If this list has inspired you, check out our range of painting supplies including acrylic paints, watercolour painting, oil painting, gouache painting and brushes.  Of course, we haven’t left the drawers out! Find our drawings range here or check out our pencils, markers, pastels, charcoal and more! 

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