There’s a reason these painters became legendary. I give you an abridged journey from Europe to the Americas, and through different time periods.
Here’s my top ten of classic painters and why I chose them.
(1) From Spain, F. Goya:
For his happy phase and his unhappy phase. For his depiction of beautiful women and ugly nightmares. Personal favorite: Saturn Devouring His Son.
(2) From Greece, N. Gyzis:
For his ragged-faced old people, for his atmospheric scenes of everyday life, for his historical paintings. Personal favorite: Wishbone.
(3) From Greece and Spain, El Greco:
For his emaciated saints, for his view of Toledo, for his unsurpassable and unique style. Personal favorite: The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.
(4) From Mexico, Frida Kahlo:
For offering her seemingly unfair and unmerciful life to the world through her paintings, in every gruesome detail. Psychoanalysis via art. Personal favorite: Diego and I. (Video discusses another painting of the two but gives insights into their relationship.)
(5) From the US, Edward Hopper:
(6) From the Netherlands, H.Bosch:
For discovering surrealism long before Dali. For remaining such a riddle. Was he making fun of the idea of sin or was he actually terribly afraid of it? Personal favorite: The Garden of Earthly Delights.
(7) From the Netherlands, Rembrandt:
For being the one and only. For bequeathing to us his Night Watch and his Anatomy Lesson. For his portraits, for all his works. Personal favorite: The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.
(8) From Italy, Caravaggio:
For his black color. Black as his Mafia-like life, black as lead, the chemical in the paint he used, which most probably caused his death. For being a giant of art. Personal favorite: Judith Beheading Holofernes.
(9) From France, Elizabeth Vigee-Le Brun:
For her absolute dedication to portrait-painting. For her adventurous life. For her memoirs. For her wonderful paintings. Personal favorite: Self-portrait with Her Daughter.
(10) From France, Paul Gauguin:
For his exotic Tahitian women, for his love-hate friendship with Van Gogh, for his artificial naivete. For his talent. Personal favorite: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
Ten is never enough.
Among the world’s legendary painters, I also adore Chagall for his dreamy motives, for his floating humans and animals, for his excellent stained-glass windows and his Jewish peasants. De Chirico for his motionless architectural landscapes and his egg-shaped statues. Botticelli for giving us the definition of a beauty that is not exactly perfect. Dürer for his own handsome self and his excellent animals.
How about you, dear reader? Do you agree with the selection?