To many minds, Europe is the true home of the best and brightest artists throughout history.
The continent has seen endless art movements and reforms, and millions of artists have struggled to create a name for themselves in the bustling artistic scene of any country. From Renaissance painters to modern day popular artists, Europe’s art scene has constantly shaped and reshaped the concept of “art” as a whole.
With such a broad spectrum to choose from, it is important to note that these artists are, by no means, the only amazing artists Europe has ever had to offer. However, these are just a few that have changed art forever with their work.
Leonardo da Vinci
It is nearly impossible to think of art without thinking of da Vinci. His works, his philosophies, his writings – everything he created that managed to survive has completely shaped art as a whole. A true Italian Renaissance man in every sense of the world, da Vinci will forever be regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time.
While his painting and sculptures are true testaments of his talents, he is also often called the father of palaeontology, architecture, and ichnology. His art is his most enduring and beloved legacy, but da Vinci truly was a man of many talents that changed the world for the better.
Rembrandt van Rijn
Rembrandt van Rijn, typically simply referred to as Rembrandt, is widely considered one of the greatest visual artists to have ever lived, as well as the most important artist in Dutch history. He was a master painter, printer, and draughtsman. While Rembrandt is particularly known for his stunning and unique portraits, his style has crossed a variety of genres and subject matter.
The variety and breadth of Rembrandt’s work, as well as his truly stunning skills with a brush and pencil, have cemented him forever in the history of art. His portraits, particularly his self-portraits, truly allow art viewers to see everything he wanted them to see. His art remains among the most influential paintings ever created.
Born in Spain, Picasso’s rollercoaster life can be seen reflected in his works. Despite his struggles, Picasso’s art blossomed until he eventually created his unique brand of painting for which he will forever be remembered. His experimentation with style and method helped create some of the best-known works and art movements of the 20th century, such as Cubism and collage.
Picasso’s talent was apparent from a young age, when he showed true promise in his naturalistic paintings, many of which are on display in Barcelona. However, it was when he began to experiment and release his creativity that his space in art history was secured. With his entirely unique, identifiable, and beautiful paintings, Picasso inspired – and still inspires – young artists to never hold back.
Vincent van Gogh
Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s story is a sad one, but his art is some of the most breath-taking you will ever see. In his short life he created over 2,000 works of art, including almost 900 oil paintings, for which he is best known. Many of these works were created in the final two years of his life before he died aged 37. His life story serves as a warning against the romanticized ideal of the tortured artist. He clearly had so much more to give.
His post-Impressionist style and his particular brand of oil painting has inspired artists for years. His art juxtaposes his tragic tale, often using bright colours and beautiful bold strokes to create stunning landscapes, portraits, and more. His most famous painting, The Starry Night, is considered one of the greatest paintings ever made.
Dali was a true visionary – he inspired many artists, both in his lifetime and beyond, to truly think outside the box. He is widely considered the most famous surrealist artist to have ever lived. While surrealism as a movement spreads well beyond Europe, Spanish Dali’s particular brand of surrealism is most likely exactly what you think of when you think of the movement.
Dali’s art is bizarre, grandiose, and incredibly imaginative. His creative expression is unlike anything the art world has ever seen. His brand of expression is a perfect example of what art can do when you think beyond the world around you.
Europe’s art history is long, storied, and incredibly rich. These artists are not the only ones who made their mark, and they will not be the last. Europe’s artists will continue to galvanize the art world for all of time.