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Famous Artists


Great Artists

Famous Artists is our series of biographies on great painters from the history of art. We explore the life of each artist through their most famous paintings, examining their social and historical background, the sources of their inspiration, the development of their technique and why they deserve their recognition as one of the greatest artists of their time.

Each biography is followed by a slide show of what we consider to be the top twenty paintings of that artist.

Claude Monet (1840-1926)


Claude Monet was a co-founder and the most celebrated artist of the French Impressionist movement. To label him simply as an Impressionist painter is a massive understatement. We tend to think of him a 19th century artist but his late 'Water Lily' paintings were the influential forerunners of Abstract Expressionism which emerged barely 20 years after his death. All things considered, Monet was an artistic colossus who stands with one foot at the beginning of modern art and the other at its end.

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 - 1669)


Rembrandt van Rijn is one of the greatest masters in the history of art and the outstanding Dutch painter of the 17th century. Most Dutch artists specialized subjects such as portraiture, landscapes, still life, genre or history paintings. Rembrandt stood apart from his contemporaries as he embraced and excelled at most of these. He built his reputation as the portrait painter of choice to the wealthy Dutch mercantile class, but the prevailing mood of his work was always filtered through an understanding of the human condition. It was this underlying compassion for people as they are, despite their flaws and shortcomings, that makes his art both timeless and universal.

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'Self Portrait', (1500) by Albrecht Dürer.

'Self Portrait', (1500) by Albrecht Dürer.