It’s all-too-familiar to see a famous painting but not know who created it. Either you really have no idea about the artist, or the memory slipped your mind at that moment. In this article, we’ll step you through the works, artistic inspiration, and patented patterns of some of history’s most famous and up-and-coming artists.
The works of iconic artists have stood the test of time, and they vividly represent a specific art movement. Some of their works were likely sold at auctions for insane amounts of money. Certain creations may be straightforward representations of particular subjects, while some artists produce symbolic art which can be open to multiple interpretations.
Top Ten Iconic Artists
Andy Warhol’s creations are the epitome of Pop Art. After starting out as a commercial artist, he brought the concept of promotion to fine art. His 15 seconds of fame lasted a lifetime, and his statements like “making money is art” became masterpieces in their own right. Some of his famous creations include portraits of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe and the design for the Campbell’s Soup can. His serigraph entitled “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” sold for $105 million.
Meanwhile, Pablo Picasso’s works are a representation of modern art. He matches this with the persona of an artistic genius who pursues a lavish lifestyle. His radical innovations in cubism added another chapter in art history. His artworks showed objects through another lens which inspired artists that followed him. Some of his most famous paintings are “Guernica” and “The Old Guitarist.”
On the other hand, psychological instability didn’t stop Vincent Van Gogh from creating fantastic masterpieces. As one of the most famous painters of all time, his technique is based on thick brushstrokes and vibrant colors. His famous paintings include “The Starry Starry Night,” “Café Terrace at Night,” “Self Portrait with Bandage,” and “The Sower.”
No list of famous artists would be complete without Leonardo Da Vinci, widely regarded as the originator of Renaissance art. Aside from being an artist, he also drew designs for cars and airplanes, which were well before his time. Of course, his name will be forever linked to “The Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper.” But some of his other works include “The Vitruvian Man,” Salvador Mundi,” and “Virgin on the Rocks.”
Michelangelo was more than a painter. He was also a sculptor, as proven by his Pietà and David creations. He was also the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Michelangelo also wrote poetry! But his painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling is his most famous work. He also designed the Laurentian Library at San Lorenzo’s Church and painted “The Creation of Adam.”
Color is Henri Matisse’s signature style. His works are often associated with the Fauvism art movement, which translates to “the wild beasts.” Twisted curves are always part of his creations. But aside from paintings such as “Music,” “The Open Window,” and “Blue Nude,” he also designed the glass windows and decorations of the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence.
There is also much color in Jackson Pollock’s artworks. But unlike Matisse, he was more of a drip painter who used house paint right from the can. He threw thin pigments onto a canvas which signified his movements while painting. Despite battling with addiction and self-doubt, Pollock exuded abstract expressionism through creations like “Convergence,” “The She Wolf,” and “Red Composition.”
Perhaps Salvador Dalí was Warhol’s biggest influence because they both craved the limelight. His paintings are the best representation of surrealism, and his waxed mustache was surrealist in nature as well. Distorted landscapes and examinations of subconscious thinking are staples of his famous creations such as “The Persistence of Memory,” “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” and “The Burning Giraffe.”
Meanwhile, the paintings of Edward Hopper reflect loneliness and alienation, which are adverse effects of America’s push for individualism and the chase of happiness. His famous paintings like “Nighthawks,” “Automat,” “Rooms by the Sea,” “Morning Sun,” and “Office at Night” feature commonplace scenarios that are open to limitless narrative interpretations.
Finally, Mexican artist and feminist Frida Kahlo was a performance artist who used her platform to become the epitome of her country’s cultural heritage. Her surreal self-portraits would feature herself as royalty even if her life was plagued by a series of misfortunes. Some of her most famous paintings include “The Two Fridas,” “Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” and “The Suicide of Dorothy Hale,” to name a few.
Who to Watch from a New Generation of Artists?
Modern art continues to thrive through up-and-coming artists and some may well join the list of iconic ones. Mandy Al-Sayegh features heavy grids in artworks that exude emotional, political, and formal overtones. El Sayegh’s ideas and materials are an accurate comment on society where excess information is readily available.
Meanwhile, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones is a master colorist who depicts mythical worlds of spiritualism ripe with symbols inspired by his Yoruba lineage. His paintings depict scenarios in between traditional living and a globalized world. His solo exhibition entitled Patterns and Rituals featured jungle-like flora in paintings that are mainly purple, pink, and blue in color.
On the other hand, Germany-based Max Frintop’s creations are comparable with Pollock’s, except that his paintings feature heavier strokes. The swaths of inks and pigments on his paintings make it difficult to decipher which color is combined with another. Frintop displays his experimental paintings with a touch of freshness.
Likewise, Viola Bittl’s paintings have colorful brushstrokes that mask other geometric forms. Her artworks have a touch of architectural art that also creates abstract depths. Her use of oil paint gives rise to waves of brushstrokes that hide objects in plain sight. Bittl’s artworks have been displayed in various exhibitions and museums in Germany and the Netherlands.
Samuel Jablon’s works first appeared as brash poetry. However, his works on canvas directly challenge traditional language structures because of the reversed or overlapping text. While the letters look chaotic, their combination with bright colors allows the text and paint to bleed together. His paintings are communicative of the fact that words are indeed art but in a twisted manner.
The creations of Franziska Reinbothe break away from the conventions of painting. They may look random at first, but her distorted canvases reveal complex constructions like stretcher bars and combined chiffon or polyester fabric. Her artworks form a structural crucifix that reveals a certain translucency. Reinbothe thrives on depicting art as a work in progress.
Helen Beard’s creations are a cross between abstract paintings and pornography. They highlight sexual imagery through a rebellious yet rhythmic context. The technicolor schemes of her paintings, which represent her film background, are rendered through thick and flowing brushstrokes. Likewise, the word plays in titles such as “The Butterfly Effect” and “Take Good Care of Yourself” are explicit yet implied.
Finally, Tomm El-Saieh’s abstract creations feature color combinations that are overlaid with linguistic markings. His painting entitled “Run” shows washes of blues and greens revealing patterns of other colors. The combination of the transparent and jazzy colors presents a painting that looks data-oriented and overwhelming in density.
These contemporary artists prove that there are exciting times ahead for the industry. Therefore, it’s time to appreciate their creations by understanding the rationale and message behind every detail of the artwork.