It is human to express oneself and feel the need to communicate one’s feelings and emotions through various modes. The history of mankind provides evidence of numerous kinds of modes of communication adopted by Homo sapiens. Besides verbal and written form of communication one other mode of expression is painting. This form of art predates Medieval Ages, and goes back to Stone Age when pre-historic men captured their lives on the cave walls. It has been reported that some of the most ancient paintings were found at the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, in France. They are estimated to be nearly 32, 000 years old.
Generation after generation the rudimentary painting skill was handed down and passed on. Each culture and religion sported their own style of painting. The Eastern painting that included historical Islamic art, Indian art, African art and Japanese art, was far more sophisticated than Western art. The visual art form that was discovered in India was quite possibly dated back to 3rd millennium BC.
This oldest mode of expression continued across multifarious cultures and witnessed the rise of several illustrious, highly acclaimed and famous painters throughout the millennium. Painters are essentially the artists who use their creative genius to tell a story in their own language of colors and strokes. There is diversity in the universe of painting as well. Painters are now categorized in different categories with regard to their subject matter, style, technique, medium and form of art. Some of such categories are abstract painters, surrealistic painters, modernist painters, realistic painters, impressionistic painters and formalist painters. While different types of paintings include conceptual art, cubism, photorealism, geometric art, hyperrealism, pop art, fauvism and more.
The history of art is abundantly filled with the famous painters who played a crucial role in the evolution of painting. In the world of painting one such artist is Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519) who was a notable Renaissance painter. Besides, a few more talents are attributed to his name. Two of his most acclaimed works include Mona Lisa and Last Supper. He is credited for giving birth to the European Renaissance period. His artwork testifies his genius and how far ahead he was from his contemporaries who only followed conventional style of art. He was trained by Verrocchio but instead of his copying of his style he developed his own aesthetic principle.
One of Leonardo’s earliest masterpieces was “Adoration of the Magi”. Despite being unfinished, it inspired artists in the year to come. Among other things, Leonardo had been credited for introducing the technique of defining forms through the contrast of light and shadow called Chiaroscuro.
History of painting is incomplete without the mention of this monumental figure, Michelangelo (1475 – 1564). The 16th century Italian painter who profoundly influenced the Western art. Besides painting, he had a knack for poetry, sculpting and architect. Leonardo da Vinci was his contemporary among other sublime artist of his generation. The two of them never got along due to Michelangelo’s narcissistic and short-tempered nature. He was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which took him two years. The epic work is considered to be one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 – April 6, 1520) more commonly known as Raphael belonged to the same age as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The three famous painters from 16th century formed the great trinity of the High Renaissance period. His work was recognized for its intricate details and ability to convey beauty and grandeur with perfection. Despite the fact that he lacked in the inventive genius department unlike his contemporaries, he made up for that by his elegant and graceful work. Raphael’s main focus was classical interpretation of perfection. Two of his highly acclaimed works include Mond Crucifixion and The Wedding of the Virgin.
Another such name who took the world of painting by revolution was the 19th century artist, Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890). The Dutch painter was famous for his post-impressionist style of work. He designed his own instinctive and spontaneous style of painting. Moreover, he is recognized for playing a pivotal role in paving the way for modern art. Van Gogh’s work manifested emotional intensity which later became his curse as he was committed to a lunatic asylum subsequent to a self inflicted injury. His major works include Sunflowers, The Starry night and Cafe Terrace at Night.
Rembrandt (1606 – 1669), was one of the eminent Dutch artists of all time. The fame was attributed to his literary prowess and creative genius. He was born at the time of ‘Dutch Golden Age’. He received formal education in arts and studied under the supervision of Pieter Lastman. Upon establishing his own workshop, he received commissioned work from the Court of The Hague. His successful career as an artist dealt a blow when personal tragedies struck as he lost his wife and children. The tragedy rendered him to tap into his potential as an artist. The paintings, henceforth, he made, depicted the raw emotions and his mastery at capturing the essence of human condition. Some of his most celebrated works include The Jewish Bride and The Storm of the Sea of Galilee.
French painter, August Renoir (1841–1919), proved his mettle at the late 19th century painting scene. Renoir and Claude Monet are considered to be the early pioneers of impressionistic art form. He was the chief exponent of the revolutionary art movement of impressionism. However he later diverted his attention toward the Italian renaissance Masters work. Renoir’s exemplary works are View of Delft, The Milkmaid and Girl With a Pearl Earring.
Above mentioned painters are some of those artists who redefined painting and recreated the art form all together. Besides these painters, some unforgettable contribution to painting is made by French impressionist, Claude Monet (1840 – 1926), Spanish, modern cubist, Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973), Dutch painter, Jan Vermeer (1632 – 1675) and French post-impressionist, Paul Cézanne (1839-1906).