George Stubbs was marvelous English animal painter and anatomical draftsman, famous for his paintings of horses. Stubbs also painted a wide range of other animals, including the lion, tiger, giraffe,... More > monkey, and rhinoceros, which he was able to observe in private menageries. According to the Ozias Humphrey, Stubbs was so convinced of the importance of observation that he visited Italy in 1754 only to reinforce his belief that nature is superior to art. Among Stubbs's best-known pictures are several depicting a horse being frightened or attacked by a lion (Horse Frightened by a Lion, 1770). His historical paintings are among the least successful of his works; much more convincing are his scenes of familiar country activities done in the 1770s. Unfortunately, he tended to execute his paintings in thin oil paint, and relatively few survive in undamaged condition. Stubbs's last years were spent on a final work of anatomical analysis, for which he completed 100 drawings and 18 engravings.< Less
Sir John Lavery was an Irish artist best known for his portraits of the rich and famous, caught in a mood of elegant relaxation. He exhibited at all the most important European salons and secessions.... More > Lavery traveled widely between World War I and World War II, producing many ‘portrait interiors'. His conversation pieces showed famous contemporaries, such as George Moore and Ramsay MacDonald, at ease in their homes and, with his portraits, are of great historical interest. Lavery's work was favored in Paris, Rome and Berlin rather than in London. He exhibited at all the major European salons and secessions and in the early 20th century two of his paintings, Father and Daughter (1898) and Spring (1904), were acquired for the Louvre.
After the war he was knighted and in 1921 he was elected to the Royal Academy. Lavery received honorary degrees from the University of Dublin and Queen's University of Belfast and was also made a free man of both Dublin and Belfast.< Less
Hans Holbein the Younger was German painter, draftsman, and designer who worked in a Northern Renaissance style, renowned for the precise rendering of his drawings and the compelling realism of his... More > portraits. Holbein was one of the greatest portraitists and most exquisite draftsmen of all time. It is the artist's record of the court of King Henry VIII of England, as well as the taste that he virtually imposed upon that court, that was his most remarkable achievement. He also produced religious art, satire and made a significant contribution to the history of book design. He is called "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father, Hans Holbein the Elder, an accomplished painter of the Late Gothic School. Holbein has also been described as a great "one-off" of art history, since he founded no school. After his death, some of his work was lost, but much was collected, and by the 19th century, Holbein was recognized among the great portrait masters.< Less
Henri Rousseau was a French Post-Impressionist artist in Primitive manner. Ridiculed during his lifetime, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality.... More > His best known paintings depict jungle scenes despite the fact that he never left France or saw a jungle. His inspiration came from illustrated books and the botanical gardens in Paris. Along with his exotic scenes there was a concurrent output of smaller topographical images of the city and its suburbs. He claimed to have invented a new genre of portrait landscape, which he achieved by starting a painting with a view such as a favorite part of the city, and then depicting a person in the foreground. Rousseau's flat, seemingly childish style was disparaged by many critics; people often were shocked by his work or mocked it. Many observers commented that he painted like a child, but the work shows erudition with his scrupulous technique.< Less
Jan Matejko (1838 – 1893) was a Polish artist famous for paintings of remarkable historical Polish political and military events. His most famous works include oil on canvas paintings like... More > Battle of Grunwald, paintings of numerous other battles and court scenes, and a gallery of Polish kings. In addition to historical events Matejko made also several portraits. Altogether he authored 320 oil paintings and several thousands drawings and watercolors. Finally he painted a monumental polychrome in St. Mary's Basilica, Kraków (1889–1891). His most important paintings were hidden during World War II. After 1945 majority of his works was found and subject to restoration. His works, disseminated in thousands of reproductions, have made him one of the most famous painters in Poland, and became almost standard illustrations of many key events in Polish history.< Less
"I can paint with a shoestring dipped in pitch and lard . . . Technique did you say? My slats! . . . It’s in you or it isn’t. Who taught Shakespeare technique? Guts! Life! Life!... More > That’s my technique.” - George Benjamin Luks
George Benjamin Luks (1867 – 1933) was an American realist artist and illustrator. His vigorously painted genre paintings of urban subjects are examples of the Ashcan School of American art.
He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art under Thomas Anshutz and traveled abroad studying from 1885-1895. Luks first met the group of artists known as "The Eight" while working as a newspaper artist in Philadelphia in the 1890s. Luks subject matter generally focused on the everyday immediacy and drama of the working class people. He was able to portray their energy and raw physicality. Luks was a born rebel and he took pride in being known as the "bad boy" of American art but he was also a paradox: a man of enormous egotism and a great generosity of spirit.< Less
Vasily Surikov was the foremost Russian painter of large-scale historical subjects. His major pieces are among the best-known paintings in Russia. In his canvases Surikov dealt with many dramatic... More > episodes of Russian history such as the reformation of the church in the mid 17th century and Peter the Great's reforms of the 18th century. In Surikov's own time, the late 19th century, there were numerous flashbacks to those events in Russia. The Russian people were the main characters of Surikov’s works and courage and daring were the artist's principal subject matters. In his paintings, Surikov always focused on fine portraiture. His female images are particularly elaborate and masterful. Surikov was a master of monumental historical compositions, depicting national tragedies and powerful human characters. He executed only nine historical canvases out of hundreds of portraits, studies, and sketches but that canvases are really monumental paintings.< Less
Jasper Francis Cropsey was an important American landscape painter and architect. He was best known for his lavish use of color and, as a first-generation member from the Hudson River School, painted... More > autumn landscapes that startled viewers with their boldness and brilliance. As an artist, he believed landscapes were the highest art form and that nature was a direct manifestation of God. He also felt a patriotic affiliation with nature and saw his paintings as depicting the rugged and unspoiled qualities of America. As an architect, Cropsey designed and superintended the Victorian style 6th Ave elevated stations in New York City.< Less
William Etty was English painter, one of the few British artists to specialize almost exclusively in the nude. He spent most of his career in London. Etty's paintings are often of mythological or... More > historical subjects, sometimes on an ambitious size, but he also made life studies throughout his career, and these are now probably his most admired works. He was often attacked for the alleged indecency of his work, The Times considering it ‘entirely too luscious for the public eye’. However, by the time of his death he was wealthy and respected. He summed up his attitude to his favourite subject thus: ‘Finding God's most glorious work to be Woman, that all human beauty had been concentrated in her, I dedicated myself to painting—not the Draper's or Milliner's work—but God's most glorious work, more finely than ever had been done.’ His draughtsmanship is often criticized, but it is generally agreed that he attained a glowing voluptuousness in the painting of flesh that few British artists have ever approached.< Less
George Frederic Watts was a admired English Victorian artist related with the Symbolist movement. He became famous his allegorical works "Love and Life" and "Hope". These... More > paintings were in which the emotions and aspirations of life would all be represented in a universal symbolic language. Watts was a hard-working artist who twice refused a baronetcy and other honors, including an offer to become president of the Royal Academy. His declared aims were clear: to paint pictures that appealed 'to the intellect and refined emotions rather than the senses': "I paint ideas, not things. I paint primarily because I have something to say, and since the gift of eloquent language has been denied to me, I use painting; my intention is not so much to paint pictures which shall please the eye, as to suggest great thoughts which shall speak to the imagination and to the heart and arouse all that is best and noblest in humanity."< Less