If you ask me, consuming art is as important as eating satiating food and staying hydrated.
While music, the most common form of art, after all, is absolutely everywhere: on the radio, in advertisements, in movies, in shops etcetera… There are ways of artistic expression we seem to sleep on. I’m not talking about the newly-implemented arts such as origami or graffiti, but actually about one that has been around since the beginning of time: painting.
Yes, you’ve heard that right! Painting!
It has been getting slept on in the past few decades. I’m wishing to reignite the fire that has once been lit for expressing through painting and to remind you of what beautiful harmonies paintings play to our souls each time we glance at them.
Here you have a shortlist of my most favourite painters of all time (with the hope that this will remind you of yours).
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Frida is a Mexican painter. You may have heard of her unibrow or even her space buns that she would often wear.
She has mostly painted self-portraits that would usually express her pain and mental illnesses: “The Wounded Deer”, “The Two Fridas”, “A Few Small Nips”, “Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird” and many others.
Many paintings of hers contain butterflies or thorns. It is believed that the butterflies are linked to her rebirth, to the moments when she realised her freedom. The thorns being a biblical reference to Jesus’s thorn crown, thus expressing her pain further.
The house Frida lived in, La Casa Azul (The Blue House) is now a museum that holds all her personal objects, thus preserving her free spirit and chaotic nature.
There are many documentaries or even movies made about Frida’s life, one of them being Frida. This movie has torn me apart.
Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899)
Rosa Bonheur was a sculptor but a well-known painter, as well. Critics often said that she would behave and dress exactly like a man. Her paintings were rather gloomy, reflecting her serious nature.
The subject of her art would mainly be nature. Moreover, she has painted some gorgeous pieces that portray animals: “Two Goats”, “Le Cheval Blanc”, “Ravaude”, “The Wounded Eagle”…
Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)
Botticelli is a hugely representative figure of the Italian Renaissance. “Primavera”, ” The birth of Venus”, “Madonna and child”, ” Venus and Mars”, are just a small percentage of the total number of his works.
His beautiful muse, the woman that appears in almost all his paintings, is Simonetta Vespucci. She modelled for other painters too but unfortunately, died at the age of 23.
Charles Edward Perugini (1839-1918)
Charles Edward Perugini is an English painter of the romantic, victorian era. He is the son-in-law of the famous writer, Charles Dickens. His wife, Kate Perugini, was a painter as well. While they had pretty similar styles, Charles mostly painted women, but his wife children.
My favourite pieces of artwork of his are “In the Orangery”, “Dolce far Niente”, “Woman with a Floral Wreath in a Leopard Dress”.
Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856-1916)
Kennington was a portrait-painter. His paintings would often include a woman’s naked or half-naked body. Kennington’s style of painting women was similar to Botticelli’s. The two would portray them to be timid, hesitating, immaculate, fair-skinned, between chubby and slim, with long, wavy and most often, red-blonde hair.
His most beautiful works, in my opinion, are: “Pandora”, “Contemplation”, “Nest of Dryad” and “The Siesta of Dryad”.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
One of the most famous painters in the world, Van Gogh. Shall I talk about Vincent’s life story? His famously cut ear, his suicide, the fact that he drank paint, it’s so well-known. One thing I need to make everyone aware of is that the idea of Vincent drinking paint to make himself happy is just a romanticised version. He was just suicidal and hoped the chemicals in the paint would kill him.
He had a few mental illnesses he struggled with until his death by suicide. If you’re interested to learn more about Vincent’s life or death, I recommend you watch Loving Vincent. It’s tragically beautiful.
His works of art include the famous “Starry Night”, “Sunflowers”, “Blossoming Almond Tree”, “The Yellow House”.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
You may recognise Rossetti from a poetry book that’s always on your grandpa’s nightstand. What many do not know that besides being a poet, he was a painter too. He was named one of the best Pre-Raphaelite painters.
He has painted “Proserpine”, “Lady Lilith”, “The Beloved”, “Bocca Baciata”, “Monna Rosa”, “Pandora”, “Joan of Arc”. Most of them portray women that resembled his wife: redhead, blue-eyed, with blushy cheeks. His style is similar to Kennington’s when it comes to painting women.
My list of favourite painters would also include Picasso, Gauguin, Klimt, Monet, Donatello, Rafael, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Buonarroti, Vermeer, Dalí, Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Delacroix, but that’s just a story for another time.:)
If you have any friends that do art, whether as a hobby or job, don’t forget to be their biggest fan! Read more about how to support your artist friends here.