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Category Archives: Art

Best Still Life Paintings

“Transparent bowl with fruit and vases” – mural painting in Pompeii, Italy, 1 st century a.c. – It is extremely difficult to determine when the genre of the still-life was born. We know that even the ancient Egyptians decorated the tombs with paintings of fruits, vegetables and other foods, aimed to feed the deceased souls in the afterlife. This example, discovered in the ancient city of Pompeii, is extraordinary for its naturalism and the gentleness with which each piece of fruit is represented, using a different pigment for each piece of the bunch of grapes that constitutes the center of the painting. It is also notable the contrast between the solid transparent bowl -glass was a very appreciated material in ancient Rome- and the sensation of instability caused by the inclined jar.

Sanchez Cotán: “Still Life with Game Fowl, Vegetables and Fruits”, 1602 (Madrid, Prado Museum) and “Still Life with thistle and carrots” (Museum of Fine Arts, Granada) – Spanish Painting from the 17th century has a high number of still-life painters, including names like Luis Meléndez, Juan van der Hamen or even the great Francisco de Zurbarán. Nevertheless, none of them were as original as Carthusian painter Juan Sanchez Cotán, unique among all of them for his apparently simple compositions, but full of force and intensity, in which the emptiness, as in the painting in Granada (another similar version is now in Philadelphia), has a fundamental importance, even competing with the object of the picture.

Abraham van Beyeren (Abraham van Beijeren): “Banquet Still Life”, c.1660 (Los Angeles, County Museum of Art) – Van Beyeren was an almost unknown painter in his day, but today he is considered a key figure of the still life painting in Dutch painting from the 17th century, which includes names like Jan Davidsz de Heem or Frans Snyders. His still life paintings -especially the banquets ones- are authentic pictorial extravaganzas, tremendously rich in all kinds of elements and details. The work illustrated here is one of his most celebrated compositions.

Jean Siméon Chardin: “The Ray (la raie)”, 1728 (Paris, Louvre) – Chardin is one of the masters of the still life painting of any era, and “The Ray” is one of his undisputed masterpieces. The work was widely published and admired by important names like Diderot -who called Chardin “the great magician”-, Marcel Proust and even Henri Matisse, two centuries later. An unusual element in this still life is the inclusion of a living animal -the cat- creating a stranger and veiled dynamism within the triangular composition of the painting.

William M. Harnett: “Violin (the old violin)”, 1886 (Washington, National Gallery of Art) – Irish born American painter William Harnett was one of the pioneers of the Still Life Painting in the United States. “Violin” (a.k.a. “the old violin”) is one of the best examples of his trompe l’oeil style (“fool the eye” style) in which the painted elements can be mistaken for real, physical objects. In fact, when this picture was first exhibited, many visitors tried to touch the violin depicted in the canvas, believing that the instrument was a physical object placed over the picture.

Vincent van Gogh: “Sunflowers (Vase with fifteen sunflowers)”, 1888 (London, National Gallery of Art) – Van Gogh’s “sunflowers” are not only one of the artist’s favorite subjects (he painted seven canvases of vases with sunflowers, plus three earlier works depicting the sunflowers alone), but they also rank among the most famous paitings ever created. “The sunflower is mine in a way”, said van Gogh to his brother Theo. The work illustrated here is one of the brightest of all the series, with a fabulous spectrum of yellow pigments. One of these ‘sunflowers’ by Van Gogh broke the auction record for a painting when it was sold to a Japanese investor for almost $40 million in March 1987. Recent rumors have suggest that the work could not be a genuine van Gogh, but a copy by Emile Schuffenecker.

Paul Cézanne: “Still life with fruit basket (the kitchen table)”, 1880-1890 (Paris, Orsay) – Cézanne is arguably the greatest master of still life painting of any era, and this shining painting constitutes one of his most ambitious compositions. The first element we see is a wood table partially covered with a white blanket, and nine pieces of fruit over it. Curiously, the enormous green pear of the right is not placed over this white blanket, as if its scale did not allow it to be placed along with the rest of the pieces. Two white ceramics jars, along with a larger jar behind them, form a particular triangular subcomposition. This group of figures could created an exceptional still life by themselves, but Cézanne has reserved us an extraordinary illusion: the fruit basket. Where is this basket? Placed in a very unstable position in the upper right corner of the table, or -thanks to a complex perspective- is on the ground along with the wood piece partially depicted at the right of the painting? Here Cézanne has created a double perspective to paint a sensational work in which the cubism begins to appear.

The Secrets of Perspective Drawing Made Easy

Why Knowing How to Draw Perspective Is Important

I will be the first to admit that learning and practicing linear perspective is a little bit like eating your veggies when you are a kid. You aren’t sure about them even though you know they are good for you but, in the end, you learn to love them. But what is really worth remembering about perspective drawing is that if you know the basics, you’ve got all the capabilities of a 3D drawing in your hands. That’s why understanding linear perspective is so important for artists, beginners included.

Linear perspective revolutionized the way artists perceived and incorporated spatial depth in their work. Established in solid, mathematical terms in the 15th century, linear perspective creates the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.

How to Tell the Difference Between One-Point Perspective and Two-Point Perspective

To create effective linear perspective, artists establish a horizon line, a vanishing point on that line, and multiple orthogonal, or vanishing, lines. The horizon line is a horizontal line that runs across the paper or canvas to represent the viewer’s eye level and delineates the sky meeting the ground.The orthogonal lines, which distort objects by foreshortening them, create the optical illusion that objects grow smaller and closer together as they get farther away. These imaginary lines recede on the paper to meet at one point on the horizon called the vanishing point.

The difference between one-point perspective and two-point perspective is the number of vanishing points and where they are placed on the horizon line. For more on the basics of drawing perspective, consider the digital download of our best-selling perspective drawing workshop, Perspective Made Simple, which breaks down all of linear perspective into simple, focused steps that anyone can learn.

Practicing Your Perspective Drawing Lessons: Where to Start

When first learning how to incorporate perspective into your composition, concentrate on one-point perspective with one vanishing point (two-point perspective and three-point perspective use two and three vanishing points, respectively). One-point perspective is helpful when drawing or painting roads, railroad tracks, or buildings that directly face the viewer.

According to linear-perspective instructor Patrick Connors, “The components of perspective are three: the eye (the artist or viewer), the picture plane, and the figure (or object). The science is about the relationship among the three. An introduction to perspective will enhance an artist’s appreciation for the perceptual underpinnings of the illusions of space.”

Things Every Beginner Should Know About Painting with Acrylics

Lesson One: Understanding the Medium

Of the many acrylic lessons you will certainly learn, many would argue that the first lesson should be understanding the medium itself.

Simply put, what is acrylic paint? The answer is a water-soluble medium made from a synthetic resin binder mixed with pigments. The water soluble aspect of acrylic paints means that a painting dries quickly and you do not have to use solvents to dilute the paint or for cleaning brushes or a palette.

All Dry! After an acrylic painting on canvas dries the surface becomes water resistant, and a canvas can be rolled up and stored with no fear of cracking or damaging. This is all in contrast to oil paints, which need to be thinned with solvents, take much longer to dry and harden as they do so, making them quite fragile and not so easily transported. This medium can be an exciting prospect because acrylics have so much versatility.

You’ll notice when painting with acrylic paint that they dry to a flat finish. But mediums abound that can be added to the paints to:
-Increase luminosity and surface shine
– Get a matte or semi-matte finish
– Create watercolor-like transparent washes
-Thicken acrylics for more noticeable brushstrokes as you put acrylic paint on canvas

Getting Started

To get started, a few acrylic painting basics include choosing a painting surface that does not contain oil or wax, to which acrylic paints just won’t adhere. Also, certain pigments aren’t always available by the same name from acrylic paint manufacturers. The brand of paint you choose will likely have the colors you want, but you just may have to search through a few name variations.

Another of our tips is try to resist mixing pigments too much or adding more than two or three colors to a mix because you run the risk of muddying your acrylic paints. Also, when acrylic paint is first put down, colors can look lighter than and not as bold as they will when they dry, so be patient as you first start out.
To get you in the painting mindset here are our 5 Top Tips for Acrylic Painting!

  1. Acrylics dry super quick, so embrace your inner speed demon. Paint fluidly and embrace layers!
  2. In almost every case, acrylic paints are more affordable than oil paints so if you are a painter starting out or considering a gift for a new artist, go with acrylics!
  3. Work on any surface you want. Acrylics adhere to pretty much any surface without peeling.
  4. Acrylics dry darker than they appear when first put down.
  5. Use acrylics straight from the tube for intense color or as a thin fluid for when you want to drip, pour, or use it in an airbrush.

Having Fun with Acrylic Paints: Painting Outdoors (Tips & Guidance)

Once you feel like you have a familiarity with how to use acrylic paint in your art, take your acrylic paints outdoors! It’s a thrilling and exciting way to explore acrylic painting. You’ll want to remember that because acrylic paints dry very quickly, especially when you are painting outdoors, you may want to:
-Keep a spray bottle of water on hand to keep the paints moist.
-Remember not to squeeze out a ton of paint on your palette so it doesn’t dry out and end up wasted.
-Get a stay-wet palette.

If you want to learn more about the acrylic painting techniques that you can use when painting the landscape or cityscape, check outMastering Acrylic Painting with Marcia Burtt as she paints ocean waves and palm trees in sunny California, or John Harrell’s DVD onPainting Scenes from the City. Plus Stephen Quiller’s acrylic landscape painting digital download gives you immediate access to professional art instruction on landscape painting with acrylic paint, so you’ll be all set for using acrylic paint outdoors because of the acrylic painting lessons that Quiller shares based on his own painting experiences.

Next Steps

If you are more content to stay in the studio while exploring your acrylic painting techniques, consider taking the still life as your subject, or using acrylic paint with a more decorative mindset. There are many specialty acrylic colors and pigments out there:

– iridescent colors
– fluorescents
– glimmering metallics

You can take any ideas you have and ramp them up for artworks that are really eye catching if you use these special mixes.

10 Watercolor Painting Techniques for Beginners

1. Research is underrated

Delve into a lot of watercolor instruction resources. As often as you can, hear directly from practicing artists–what they think of their chosen medium and what they have to share in terms of tips that might help you. Consider a subscription to Watercolor Artist Magazine. It is a great place to start as you will receive an entire year’s worth of step-by-step watercolor articles and demos to explore during your studio time, growing in your creativity and skill with each issue you receive. Splash: Best of Watercolor—Digital Collection is the resource I keep close at hand to learn the methods of contemporary watercolor artists. With more than 350 paintings showcasing contemporary watermedia, this collection truly celebrates all the unique innovations and explorations of watercolor painting.

2. Don’t buy a premade palette

Create your own watercolor palette rather than going the easy route with a premade one. Painting this way allows you to better understand what each color is capable of doing and how you can work with it. A good starter palette might include:
-Cadmium yellow
-Cadmium red
-Permanent rose
-French ultramarine
-Cobalt blue
-Raw sienna
-Burnt sienna
-Burnt umber
-I also add Cerulean blue and viridian because I love those colors

3. Learn to hold your brush right so you can get the strokes right, too

Start with watercolor drawing exercises that allow you to get comfortable holding each brush. Make stroke after stroke with all your different brushes to see the results. You want to better understand how to diversify your brushstrokes in watercolor painting and so your strokes end up the way you want.

4. Practise painting wet into wet

It once struck terror into my heart! Yes, you can’t anticipate the results, but that is part of the fun! Just be sure to practice working wet paint into wet paint and with paint applied to wet paper—the two get very different results.

5. Learn to “lift off”

Lifting out is a watercolor painting technique used to create highlights and it sounds pretty much like what it is—you lift out color with a tissue or sponge while the paint surface is still wet. Certain colors like alizarin crimson are more stubborn than others and can leave a residue when you lift out so be aware of that.

6. Practise making blooms or backruns

To create blooms or backruns in watercolor painting, you only need to remember two steps. One: Lay down a wash and let it dry for a bit. Two: Add a second wash where you want your bloom or backrun to appear. (For more detail on this technique, download the Splash 16: Exploring Texture eBook. Filled with the best watercolor artists our editors could find, this resource highlights the techniques of 100+ artists who push textures like this to the max.)

7. Practise making smooth washes

This is not just a beginner watercolor painter’s struggle—most watercolor artists no matter how experienced are challenged by this. One way to finesse smooth washes is to practice using a large brush to make the fewest, broadest strokes you can, working them from paper edge to paper edge. Remember to tilt the board your paper is resting on and your wash will course down in the direction of your tilt without dripping messily.

8. Experiment with wet watercolors on dry surfaces

Painting wet strokes onto paint that has already dried keeps each layer you put down relatively intact, but before you do this “for real” take a few practice runs on scratch paper so you know what expect and you can experiment with how wet to make your second layer and what kind of color dimension you get with these successive layers.

9. Don’t rush

When you are warming up with watercolor painting or any other artform, remember not to think of what you are doing as a race or as something to rush through. There is no finish line. It is a journey not a destination, so be present in all that you do and embrace all that you learn as you learn it, pursuing each watercolor painting technique like it is brand new to you.

10. Work without preconceptions

When you gather your brushes and paints and are standing in front of the blank page or canvas ready to lay down your first watercolor painting stroke, clear your mind. Don’t paint with any preconceptions. Your mind will be clear to make discoveries that really matter in your process, which is truly what allows each of us to go from watercolor painting beginners to artists with more advanced skills.

3 Easy Steps You Can Take to Learn How to Paint

1. Understand Your Materials

There are dozens of oil painting lessons out there. But the first, and most crucial, step of painting instruction is coming to know your materials. All oil painting lessons start there because knowing how your paints respond allows you to fully understand how to exploit them to their fullest potential, and how to avoid any big mistakes.
Traditional oil paints consist of ground pigments combined with a drying oil, such as linseed, walnut, or poppyseed oil. A “drying oil” is one that absorbs oxygen from the air, which causes it to dry and harden over time, forming a flexible and resistant surface. Each pigment requires a different amount of oil to reach the consistency needed for painting. The amount of oil absorbed by a pigment directly affects its drying time, which can be useful for an artist to know as he or she works in the studio to learn painting.

When applying layers of oil paint most artists follow one of the most popular oil painting lessons known as the “fat-over-lean” rule. ‘Fat’ oil paint contains more oil than pigment, which increases the length of time it takes to dry. ‘Lean’ oil paint is oil paint mixed with less oil, or with a solvent such as turpentine. When creating an underpainting, painting tutorials often advise artists to avoid using colors with high oil contents, because subsequent layers of paint may crack if the layers contain less oil than the previous layer. Many artists prime their canvas accordingly to make this easier. “I work on oil-primed linen, so the ‘fat to lean’ qualities of the ‘paint to surface’ are an integral part of the painting process,” says still-life painter Ellen Buselli.  –Naomi Ekperigin

2. Understand Color Theory

A painter can learn how to paint nearly every color with just three pigments. Exact hues vary from one manufacturer to the next, but an artist could go far with any company’s Indian yellow, naphthol red, and ultramarine blue.
Secondary colors, such as orange, green, and purple, are made by mixing primary colors. Tertiary colors are those made by mixing a secondary color with a primary color. Other colors are made by adding a bit of white pigment (a process called tinting) or adding a bit of black (a process called shading).

When you start to learn painting, it helps to understand the vocabulary used in discussing color. Hue refers to the arbitrary name given to certain colors on the color wheel, for example, red, orange, blue-green, mauve, etc. Value refers to the degree of lightness or darkness in a color. This can be adjusted by tinting or shading the hue. And chroma, or saturation, is how pure the color is compared to its corollary on the color wheel. If a color is close to how it appears on the color wheel, it is said to be “high chroma.” Colors have less saturation or chroma when they are created by mixing two colors. This is because we experience color as light that is reflected off a toned surface. When we see green paint, we are seeing pigment that absorbs all the other colors in light except green. (White light has all the colors of the spectrum in it.) When two pigments are mixed, each color absorbs its own share of light, so the resulting mix is duller than either of the two mixing colors would be alone. The more you mix, the less saturated a color will be. This is often a good thing–colors straight out of the tube usually make a painting look garish and unnatural. –Bob Bahr

3. Understand How to Layer Paints

Acrylic painting lessons will usually include the basic techniques for manipulating washes of acrylic paint to develop detailed paintings of landscapes, figures, still lifes, and the like. This process sounds more complicated than it truly is, as there are just three essential steps to learning how to use acrylic paint to give objects depth and dimension. Here’s a painting exercise to show you how.

First, Apply a Thin Wash: Use either a wash or glaze of red oxide combined with a small amount of titanium white and diarylide yellow. Apply one thin wash to your surface to create a few shapes. (If you are still learning how to handle your paint brush, consider theBrushwork Essentials eBook, a resource that shows you how to use a brush properly for effective control and powerful expression.)

Second, Apply a Second Coat: Using the same color as in step one, mix a wash or glaze using slightly less water or gel. This value will be darker because there is more pigment. When the first coat is dry, apply a second coat to the areas to give the initial shapes more dimension. For example, the second coat could be applied to the front and side of a cube.

Third, Apply Shadows: After the second coat is dry, apply a third one of the same color to the areas where shadows from other objects could be. You may need another coat after this one dries to further delineate shadowed areas. All of this was done with the same color and shows how successive layers of a single color can easily add dimension to a basic painting sketch.

Top Three Resources on Mixing Colors

1. Color Theory: For Oil and Watercolor

Best for: An all-round resource for painters specializing in oil and watercolor media, but want theory they can apply to other media too.

Color Theory: For Oil and Watercolor is the one-of-a-kind resource for conquering color. It’s instantly accessible and I can take it wherever I go—in the studio or out when I am doing color sketching, so I am able to master color theory on my own timeline. What lured me to this eBook is how it teaches me how to select the perfect hue every time—no matter where I am, what the lighting conditions are, or what I am painting. That means when I mix colors, I do it with confidence and the results aren’t muddy or off! And that means finding the joy in color and discovering the ability to make your colors “sing,” according to artist-instructor David Gallup, who compares color theory to musical composition. What could be more appealing than that? And because it is just a click away, I didn’t hesitate to make it mine– the payoff is so huge and important to the development of my art.

2. Color Concepts

Best for: Pastel artists, those looking for a quick read, and those on a serious budget.

Learning how to see and mix colors is crucial, and doing it with pastels is a reward in and of itself because my colors come out so strong, so bold, and so right! That’s the power of Maggie Price’s instruction in Color Concepts, proving that big rewards for art can come in very small packages. This pint-sized resource has become my secret weapon for basic color theory because Maggie tackles practically all the key color concepts, from hue and intensity to value, contrast, color temperature, and more.

3. Color Essentials: A Painter’s Guide

Best for: Visual learners who prefer to watch a video over reading a book, and those looking for a clever gift for an artist friend.

Do you want to reach the next level of sophistication in your painting? Top artist and instructor Lea Colie Wight gets you there! In Color Essentials, your creativity and spontaneity come to the fore. You are handed the tips and strategies of how to mix colors and adjust new color combinations, mix colors that are vibrant, and create color studies that will be the making of great painting after great painting. Color-mixing mastery is at your fingertips with this video download, and it is the gateway to expert color approaches that are completely your own.

Tips to Draw People

1. Drawing Hands

Keep in mind the bone and muscle structure beneath the surface. In some places the surface is influenced by the angular bones, in others by the soft muscles. Don’t round off all the forms or the subject will look rubbery.

2. Drawing People and More

A classic way to draw something with correct proportion is to create a grid and place it over your reference photo, then draw a grid on your paper. Erasing these lines can be a pain, so a lightbox (or window on a sunny day) can be used instead. Place the grid on the lightbox, tape it down, then place your paper over the grid. You can see the grid through the paper and there’s no erasing later.

3. Drawing People

A useful device is a shaft or midline, which is a line drawn through  the middle of a human form to see how it is supported. A midline acts like the armature underneath movement and direction. It also simplifies the process of seeing and indicating the angles of specific forms.

4. Opposites Attract

An essential principle of design that also relates to the human figure is the concept of opposites. The use of opposites, or contrast, exists in all the arts to create interest. In the human figure, a contrapposto position, where the weight is on one leg, is usually more interesting than one where the weight is equally balanced on both legs or throughout the figure. Each opposite helps strengthen and clarify the other.

5. How to Draw a Person

The muscles are the body’s substructure. They are a big part of what gives the figure its shape and form. Understanding what goes on beneath the surface will help you see important details that might have gone otherwise unnoticed.

6. How to Draw Characters

For a visual artist, choosing how to depict an event–what parts are emphasized and what are downplayed–is done through staging. If there are enough clues through the interplay of body language, setting, costumes, props and even artistic style, the viewer will understand the story and the meaning behind it.

7. Make the Most of Your Time

Don’t necessarily add more detail in a longer study–spend the extra time observing the overall pose more carefully. You may want to choose a less familiar viewpoint. This figure, for example, is foreshortened because it’s seen from a high eye level. There are some surprising correlations of different parts of the body. Note how the fingers of her right hand appear to reach her calf and are even in line with the toes of her left foot!

5 Essential Tips for Learning How to Draw

1. Find the Best Drawing Tools for You

The first step of learning to draw is figuring out what drawing tools you want to work with and gaining an awareness of what your chosen drawing medium is capable of. Working with a graphite pencil is quite a different experience and utilizes a completely different process than working with a stick of charcoal, oil pastel, pen and ink or colored pencil. Drawing Secrets Revealed by Sarah Parks and the video download Top 10 Art Techniques can really help you reach your fullest potential by giving you an understanding of the different drawing techniques used with different drawing media. For example, if you want to really work on your mark-making with an emphasis on hatching or cross-hatching, you’ll probably want to work with graphite. For more expressive marks, reach for charcoal.

2. Use Mistakes as a Lesson

When you start to draw the first thing you will want to do is loosen up—literally. You want to draw fluidly and spontaneously, so the first thing I was always taught to do is warm up with exercises like drawing circles or cubes. This gets your hand and eye working in concert and can bring about a certain level of focus that you’ll need as you start to sketch.

Another of our drawing tips that I’d like to share is to be mindful that as you learn to draw you don’t have to erase. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you must. Oftentimes, “incorrect” marks can be guidelines for you as you zero-in on the right way to draw the curved shape of a vase or tilt of the nose. Leaving those marks—known as pentimenti—is something that master draftsmen have done for centuries, so you can too.

3. Use Negative Space

Drawing for beginners also means learning to see and to draw negative space as well as positive space. In other words, spend time drawing the shapes of the space around objects as well as the objects themselves.

It sounds easy, but oftentimes this basic drawing idea is hard to truly understand until you actually do it. But once you capture a few angles, the negative space will take as much prominence in your drawing as the object you are drawing.

4. Practice by Working with Lines Only

Take time as you work through drawing tutorials to work only with line. Create simple drawings using hatchings and crosshatchings alone. Discover how you can layer line, or use different sides of your implement for smooth and crisp marks or smeary strokes. Decent drawing tutorials will tell you the same because drawing basics like this are what allow you to really command the best from the medium, be it graphite, charcoal, pastels, or any other implement you choose to draw with.

5. Don’t Use Symbols

One of the best drawing exercises you can practice involves symbols or, actually, resisting the temptation to use symbols. You see, when you start to learn drawing, there is always the urge to draw objects or figures as shapes, ovals for eyes for example. But in reality, the structure and shape of eyes is nothing like an oval. Instead, you must use light and shadow and proportion to truly capture a person’s eyes in your drawing.

To practice this, sit in front of a mirror with a lamp tilted over your face to create strong light and shadow shapes. Practice creating a basic drawing of the abstract shapes of light and shadow on the features of your face. Creating a drawing step by step in this way frees you to see abstractly and that is the secret to drawing art. You learn to draw what you see, not what you think you see.

The Most Important Painters in The World

Although this list stems from a deep study of the painters, their contribution to Western painting, and their influence on later artists; we are aware that objectivity does not exist in Art, so we understand that most readers will not agree 100% with this list. In any case, theartwolf.com assures that this list is only intended as a tribute to painting and the painters who have made it an unforgettable Art

1. PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973) – Picasso is to Art History a giant earthquake with eternal aftermaths. With the possible exception of Michelangelo (who focused his greatest efforts in sculpture and architecture), no other artist had such ambitions at the time of placing his oeuvre in the history of art. Picasso created the avant-garde. Picasso destroyed the avant-garde. He looked back at the masters and surpassed them all. He faced the whole history of art and single-handedly redefined the tortuous relationship between work and spectator

2. GIOTTO DI BONDONE (c.1267-1337) – It has been said that Giotto was the first real painter, like Adam was the first man. We agree with the first part. Giotto continued the Byzantine style of Cimabue and other predecessors, but he earned the right to be included in gold letters in the history of painting when he added a quality unknown to date: emotion

3. LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519) – For better or for worse, Leonardo will be forever known as the author of the most famous painting of all time, the “Gioconda” or “Mona Lisa”. But he is more, much more. His humanist, almost scientific gaze, entered the art of the quattrocento and revoluted it with his sfumetto that nobody was ever able to imitate

4. PAUL CÉZANNE (1839-1906) – “Cezanne is the father of us all.” This famous quote has been attributed to both Picasso and Matisse, and certainly it does not matter who actually said it, because in either case would be appropriate. While he exhibited with the Impressionist painters, Cézanne left behind the whole group and developed a style of painting never seen so far, which opened the door for the arrival of Cubism and the rest of the vanguards of the twentieth century

5. REMBRANDT VAN RIJN (1606-1669) – The fascinating use of the light and shadows in Rembrandt’s works seem to reflect his own life, moving from fame to oblivion. Rembrandt is the great master of Dutch painting, and, along with Velázquez, the main figure of 17th century European Painting. He is, in addition, the great master of the self-portrait of all time, an artist who had never show mercy at the time of depicting himself

6. DIEGO VELÁZQUEZ (1599-1660) – Along with Rembrandt, one of the summits of Baroque painting. But unlike the Dutch artist, the Sevillan painter spent most of his life in the comfortable but rigid courtesan society. Nevertheless, Velázquez was an innovator, a “painter of atmospheres” two centuries before Turner and the Impressionists, which it is shown in his colossal ‘royal paintings’ (“Meninas”, “The Forge of Vulcan”), but also in his small and memorable sketches of the Villa Medici.

7. WASSILY KANDINSKY (1866-1944) – Although the title of “father of abstraction” has been assigned to several artists, from Picasso to Turner, few painters could claim it with as much justice as Kandinsky. Many artists have succeeded in painting emotion, but very few have changed the way we understand art. Wassily Kandinsky is one of them.

8. CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926) – The importance of Monet in the history of art is sometimes “underrated”, as Art lovers tend to see only the overwhelming beauty that emanates from his canvases, ignoring the complex technique and composition of the work (a “defect” somehow caused by Monet himself, when he declared that “I do not understand why everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love”). However, Monet’s experiments, including studies on the changes in an object caused by daylight at different times of the day; and the almost abstract quality of his “water lilies”, are clearly a prologue to the art of the twentieth century.

9. CARAVAGGIO (1571-1610) – The tough and violent Caravaggio is considered the father of Baroque painting, with his spectacular use of lights and shadows. Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro became so famous that many painters started to copy his paintings, creating the ‘Caravaggisti’ style.

10. JOSEPH MALLORD WILLIAM TURNER (1775-1851) – Turner is the best landscape painter of Western painting. Whereas he had been at his beginnings an academic painter, Turner was slowly but unstoppably evolving towards a free, atmospheric style, sometimes even outlining the abstraction, which was misunderstood and rejected by the same critics who had admired him for decades

11. JAN VAN EYCK (1390-1441) – Van Eyck is the colossal pillar on which rests the whole Flemish paintings from later centuries, the genius of accuracy, thoroughness and perspective, well above any other artist of his time, either Flemish or Italian.

12. ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528) – The real Leonardo da Vinci of Northern European Rennaisance was Albrecht Dürer, a restless and innovative genious, master of drawing and color. He is one of the first artists to represent nature without artifice, either in his painted landscapes or in his drawings of plants and animals

13. JACKSON POLLOCK (1912-1956) – The major figure of American Abstract Expressionism, Pollock created his best works, his famous drips, between 1947 and 1950. After those fascinating years, comparable to Picasso’s blue period or van Gogh’s final months in Auvers, he abandoned the drip, and his latest works are often bold, unexciting works.

 

The Top 11 Museums in The World

Which are the best museums of the Western World? While such list is entirely subjective, we have tried to be as objective as I can be, taking in consideration its collections and history. So here is a guide to the premier Museums of the Western World and a link to its websites.


1- The Louvre
in Paris is arguably the world’s most famous Museum. Take an online tour through its wonderful collection of antiquities and painting, including -of course- Leonardo’s Gioconda


2- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York is arguably America’s greatest museum. Its spectacular collection is especially strong in American painting and Egyptian Antiquities.


3- The British Museum
is England’s greatest museum -and one of the best in the world- of Ancient Arts and antiquities, with an excellent collection of Art from Ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages.


4- The Vatican Museums
houses the inmense and outstanding Art collection of the Catholic Church, including the Sistine Chapel or Raphael’s The School of Athens


5- The Hermitage Museum
(or Ermitage) is the most important Museum in Russia and also the largest Art collection in the world, with more than 3,000,000 million of artworks


6- The Kunsthistorisches Museum
in Vienna is one of the premier museums in the world. It houses an important collection of antiquities and an outstanding collection of European painting.


7- The National Gallery of London
houses one of the world’s finest collection of paintings. It is arguably the most complete collection of European painting from the 13th to the 19th centuries


8- The Museum of modern Art
(MOMA) houses the world’s best collection of modern and contemporary Art, featuring masterworks as Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon or van Gogh’s Starry night


9- El Museo del Prado
(Prado Museum) is Spain’s most important museum, featuring the best collection of Spanish painting in the world.


10- The Museé d’Orsay
in Paris is without doubt the best museum of impressionist and 19th century French painting in the world. Features masterworks from Monet, van Gogh, Renoir…


11- The Cairo Museum
is by far the most complete collection of Egyptian Art in the world. Its most famous artworks are the objects from the Tomb of Tutankhamun, discovered in 1922