There has been a lot of great art out there in the world through the spans of history. A lot of art, however, is below the radar. I would like to introduce you to five fantastic artists through time you might not have heard of, but most definitely will enjoy!
1. Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was born in 185 in the Netherlands and is from the school of Early Dutch painting. Van Eyck perfected the use of oil painting, which was something new to his era. The oils brought out brilliant colors in art, which previously had been somewhat dull and lack-luster.
In a time of religious art being the norm, Van Eyck strove to paint reality, in all its grim details. He painted people just as they appeared in real life, and with the use of his oils, real life was exactly what he captured.
His most famous painting, The Arnolfini Portrait is a real life image of his time period. Painted to celebrate the union of Arnolfini and the bride Giovanna Cenami, this painting includes a mirror in the background, which reflects the couple from behind.
Van Eyck also painted religious art, and with the use of oils transformed the religious art world as well.
2. Diego Velazquez
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez was born in 1599 in Spain. He is one of Spain’s best-known painters. He is from the school of the Contemporary Baroque period.
In his life, he became the leading artist in the royal court of King Phillip IV. Not so long before King Phillip IV died, he appointed Velazquez a knight of the Order of Santiago, one of the highest honors in Spain.
One of Velazquez’s best known works is The Ladies-in-Waiting, a painting of the court, which includes little girls dressed up like dolls, the Kind and Queen’s reflections in a mirror, and surprisingly, Velazquez himself prominently displayed to the side, painting.
Not only was Velazquez a master portrait painter, his work invites us to experience 17th Century Spain and all its finery.
3. William Turner
Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in 1775 and was a part in the Romantic Movement that swept England. He is known as an English Romantic landscape painter.
His work is like entering a dream of fog and mist. He is known to have laid a foundation for Impressionism, and he also inspired the abstract artists that were to come later.
His works leave little doubt at the raging power and fury of nature, and how humans are entirely subjected to nature’s whims.
All together, William Turner painted over 20,000 works of art. One of his greatest works, Snowstorm shows a spiraling vortex of disaster. Turner actually painted this work from his own experiences while traveling by boat in a horrible blizzard.
Also magnificent is his Rain, Steam and Speed-The Great Western Railway, which truly captures the event of a train’s journey, as if you were at the scene.
4. Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall was born in 1887 of Russian-Jewish origin, but spent a lot of his time in France.
From his childhood, Chagall had wanted to be a painter. He was inspired by Vincent van Gogh and also by the Cubists of his time.
During World War II, Chagall fled to the United States. His paintings from that time reflect the horrors of the Holocaust, showing burning buildings and a race of people lost without a home.
After the death of his wife, Chagall turned to God, and worked on many stained glass pieces for churches. One stained-glass work he did which is particularly beautiful is in Zurich.
Picasso once said of Chagall: “When Chagall paints, one does not know whether he happens to be asleep or awake.”
One of Chagall’s greatest works is called I and the Village, and is a reflection of his hometown as he dreamed of it while living in Paris.
5. Salvador Dali
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech was born in Spain in 1904. He is from the school of Spanish Surrealism.
Dali’s art is a world of dreams. Melting clocks, fantastical parades, and other extreme surreal images grace his art. His work reflects nothing of normal life-instead, it is a depiction of the imaginative insanity in his mind.
Unlike many of the Surrealist painters, Dali remained true to the art of surrealism until he died.
One of his greatest works is called Melting Time, and invites us to experience a Martian-like world with images of clocks which seem to have melted all over the painting. This is Surrealism at its best.
Dali was an extremely eccentric person in real life. He donned a pointed mustache, and was always immaculately dressed. His outward persona caused him to receive a lot of attention, and he became a well-known figure during the 20th Century.