Masters of Art: Great Artists and their significance

In many collections of art there are often those works or names that are easily recognizable as some of the greatest in history. These works often travel to various museums and drawing large crowds. Names like van Gogh, Michelangelo and Monet are attractions for the public based on their accepted status as masters of their craft. But why were they so pivotal to art history? What makes them so exceptional? This exhibition seeks to place the best known artists in an a chronological order of artistic movements to best understand their importance to art history. Highlighting why these well known artists are representative of their time frame and their contributions to art movements, the viewer is able to understand why the public sees these artists as highly innovative, talented and widely respected. 

Botticelli (1445-1510) was an Italian painter whose works are said to represent the best of Early Renaissance painting. His works were not celebrated at the time of his death, but reached significant popularity in the early 19th Century. The Birth of Venus was one of his most famous works and the meaning of which was not based on any single written work, and so continues to be a topic of discussion.
Michelangelo (1475-1564) was an Italian painter, sculptor and architect. His art is part of the High Renaissance movement, with emphasis on the complexity of the images and a great attention to the details of nature and the human figure. The Torment of Saint Anthony depicts the Saint being attacked by temptation. This painting was created when Michelangelo was only 12 or 13 years old, showing a level of mastery that explains his position as a highly celebrated artist in history.
Rembrant (1606-1669) painted in the Dutch Golden Age; a style that was similar and parallel to the Baroque European style. This era frequently used exaggeration of motion, high levels of detail and the creation of drama. The Night Watch was not meant to be a night scene, but rather became darkened after years of improper care. Part of the left side of the painting is missing as it was cut to fit at the Amsterdam Town Hall in 1715 when it was moved from its original residence at a musketeer branch of the militia.
Vermeer (1632-1675) painted in the Dutch Golden Age, but it is unknown who Vermeer trained with to hone his painting skills. He gained celebrity at the time of his paintings, but was largely overlooked after his death. A number of his paintings were wrongly attributed to other painters until the 19th Century, when his works were rediscovered and proper credit was given.
As a leader for the Impressionist movement, Renoir (1841-1919) has become a pillar in art history. Impressionism is characterized by thin but visible brushstrokes, a focus on depicting light as the eye sees it and for the use of unusual angles. Renoir lived in France and during his career he painted with Claude Monet and is credited with influencing Pablo Picasso's work.
French painter Seurat (1859-1891) altered art history with the start of Neo-Impressionism. This movement was characterized by a more frequent use of urban scenes, a focus on colour theory and pointillism (a method of using multi-coloured dots that allow the viewers eye to create colour rather than blending colours on canvas). This painting is 10 feet wide and took Seurat two years to complete.
Dutch painter van Gogh (1853-1890) did not begin painting until his twenties. His life consisted of rough relationships as well as excessive drinking and mental breakdowns. His work exemplified both Neo-Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, as seen in the use of basic shapes and pointillism. The Starry Night was painted during van Gogh's self committed time at Saint-Paul Asylum.
Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a French painter and the founder of the impressionist movement. Monet frequently painted the same scenes several times to capture the changing light and seasons. Monet moved to Giverny with his family in 1883. With his increasing profits from paintings he had extensive landscaping done to the gardens including to the pond that became a focus of his work.
Munch (1863-1944) was a Norwegian painter who battled ill health for much of his young life. As a product of that, his studies were frequently disrupted, leading him to find art as a more suitable occupation. Munch was unsatisfied with his work in naturalism and impressionist themes and instead opted for more symbolic works.
While having a relatively short career in comparison to other painting greats, Kahlo (1906-1954) has come to be a well recognized artist. The Mexican artist was frequently categorized as a surrealist, but she would often refute that by stating that her paintings depicted her own reality. Kahlo gained popularity through her painting career and has continued to be exhibited posthumously, remaining relevant to modern viewers.
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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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