Even if you have little interest in art, you have probably heard names such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. These were, after all, the greatest painters that ever lived.
Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is the most famous of his 30-odd pieces of work, apart from the Mona Lisa. It depicts the horror on the faces of the 12 men Christ had gathered together to tell them that one person of this group would betray him before sunrise. The painting is a massive 15×29 feet, and it covers an entire wall in the dining hall of the Santa Maria della Grazie convent in Milan, Italy. A procrastinator who left many of his works unfinished, Leonardo had no choice but to finish this painting, as it was commissioned to him by the man who had been paying his wages for 18 years – the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza.
Vincent Van Gogh was considered by some to be the greatest painter in European history. His produced his most enigmatic painting, titled The Starry Night, during his stay at a psychiatric center in France, where he was recovering from mental problems. His other well-known painting is of a bunch of sunflowers, which he painted when he moved to Arles, where he hoped to found an art colony. None of his work was ever appreciated during his lifetime; in fact, he lived a life of utter poverty, hopelessness and despair, and eventually took his life when he could not bear the suffering anymore.
No story of famous paintings can ever be complete, for there are so many things and so much work to write about. Yet, without a mention to Pablo Ruiz Picasso, the story would be more incomplete that ever. Of all the maestros, the famed Spanish painter is one of the most popular of the 20th century. His most famous work is the painting he made of Germany bombing Guernica during the Spanish civil war. It captured the brutality, inhumanity and utter hopelessness of war, in his typical cubist style.
There is still Rembrandt and his The Raising of Lazarus to consider, and Monet and his famous nature paintings, and Raphael.