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No single definition comprehensively defines art. Art keeps on changing as time passes and human activities change, and this is modified to bring into existence products that best fit the specific period. Art can be defined as diverse array of human activities and the resulting creations from such activities (Hugh & Fleming, 2009). It is the assortment of human creation achieved through technical skill or simply via imagination. This paper offers a description of the greatest artists in the genres of painting, sculpture, architecture, photography and printmaking. In particular, the artists, their works, and the artistic style associated with each artist have been discussed. In order to identify the greatest artists in the given fields, various factors have been considered. These encompass their reputation that has lasted for numerous decades, their demonstration of exceptional representational art, artistic techniques used, and the artwork that has considerably influenced their generations of creative practitioners.
In this field, there are as many exemplary artists as there are paintings. Actually, picking the best of them all becomes a challenge. Nonetheless, not many remain evergreen. Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69) is one of such artist as he is regarded as one of the best painters of all times. He is largely credited for creating an assortment of dazzling masterpieces including the best in the history of painting (Hugh & Fleming, 2009). His contribution to the individual and group portraiture, self-portraits and genre-paintings has been recognized world over. Rembrandt is among the pioneers of ‘chiaroscuro’, which is the art of using light and shadow (Kohl & Solga, 1997). Rembrandt expresses unique emotional and character content of his work of art, which revolutionized paintings to a big extent. Realism at last had found sense in painting something that had not been witnessed before. He also played a big role in teaching the biggest painters in this field like Nicolaes, Carel and Gerrit. Even today, he significantly influences many painters all over the world. Rembrandt’s canvases include ‘Bathseba Holding King David’s Letter’ (Paris), the ‘Jewish Bride’ (Amsterdam), and the ‘Anatony Lesson’ (Hague).
Another great painter of all times is Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). He is famous for inventing a synthetic and analytical cubism and for his paintings during the blue and rose times. Not only was he one of the best painters, but he was also a notable prolific designer, sculptor and ceramicist. Drawing his inspiration from tribal, prehistoric and renaissance and classical themes he brought about the best paintings ever witnessed in the history. Picasso’s stunning work on the picture plane revolutionized paintings and launched a new dimension in the field of fine art. His innovation has been very crucial advancements of contemporary art including vorticism, orphism, constructivism and surrealism (Fernie, 1995). He employed expressionistic, cubistic and semi-abstract artistic styles to create his work. His work includes ‘Weeping Woman’ oil on canvas (London), ‘Guernica’ (Madrid), and ‘Blue Nude’ (Barcelona).
One of the Europe’s most rated sculptors is Donatello (1386-1466) (Arnason & Mansfield, 2009). He is a part of the tripartite (Albert and Masaccio) that propelled the renaissance in Florence. A remarkable expert in sculpture, he was a master of bronze, wood and stone. He exerted great influence on his predecessor through his prolific invention of rivevo schiacciato and his delicate and conclusive touch of emotional and classical motifs on his canvases. His sculpture works include the Statue of Gattamelata (bronze) and David (bronze) Florence
Described as an introvert workaholic, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was the most influential and greatest sculptor of modern times (Kohl & Solga, 1997). He was a remarkable successor of the works of world’s great sculptors such as Donatello and Bernini and he was also a master in the use of stone, clay, bronze and plaster. Many of his greatest work have remained evergreen include Gates of Hell (Paris), the Kiss (Paris), and the Thinker (Paris).
Depicted by many artists as the father of Scandinavian architecture, Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is known for his great works in furniture, designs and construction (Arnason & Mansfield, 2009). He derived his inspiration from the works of great artists of painting and an immense allure of the pieces of cubists artists like Braque and Pablo Picasso. Alvar admitted that his great interest in painting sparked to his innovation of unique designs. It is no wonder that his keen exploration of collage and cubism, a peculiar style used by Picasso and Brasque, is an integral part of his works (Arnason & Mansfield, 2009). He expertisely applied colour and light to make collage, for instance, of an artistic landscape. His works include Institute of Technology (Finland), Finland Hall (Finland), Viipuri Library (Russia), and Massachutes Institute of Technology (Massachutes).
Another great architect is Andrea Palladio: Renaissance Architect (1508-1580). He is one of the most influential architects in the western world (Kohl & Solga, 1997). Palladio drew his drive from classical architecture, at the same time he made circumspectly pediment and proportioned work that created buildings in America and in the western world that later became models of government buildings. He used classical elements to bring into existence beautifully designed urban palaces and villas for the wealthy of Vicenza. One of his most remarkable works is the Villa Rotunda, designed in the shape of Roman Pantheon (Kohl & Solga, 1997). One of Palladio’s most intricate works is the Basilica in Vicenza.
Man Ray (1890-1976) is a modern artist and an early proponent of surrealism and dada (Hugh & Fleming, 2009). Along with Pablo Picasso, Marx Ernst, Joan Miro, and Andre Masson, Ray attended the initial surrealist display in 1925 at Galerie Pierre, Paris. Ray is primarily renowned for his avant-garde photography, in addition to being distinguished as a portrait and fashion photographer. His subjects encompass most of the renowned artists such as Gertrude Stein, Antonin Artaud, James Joyce, and Jean Cocteau. Ray built up the photographic technique of Solarization and formulated a technique by means of photograms, called rayographs. He is one of the most prominent artists as evidenced in the ART news magazine during its evaluation of the twentieth century artists, who used surrealism style with an aim of making individuals modify their perception and feelings towards things (Hugh & Fleming, 2009). His dark room experimentation and original camera work, in conjunction with his film exploration, assemblage, collage, and conceptual art sets his work apart from other artists.
Cindy Sherman is another artist in the field of photography. She is referred to as the Queen of the Twentieth Century Photography, and generally distinguished as among the most influential and main artists in the modern art (Kohl & Solga, 1997). Sherman has presented a powerful, sustained, and a challenging investigation of the construction of modern identity and how it can be represented. She draws this from the infinite available images form magazines, movies, the Internet, television, and art history. These are her artistic influences and her artistic styles are pop art and realism. With an aim of creating photographs, she undertakes numerous responsibilities of a photographer, makeup artist, model, stylist, and hairdresser. Some of her major paintings include ‘Untitled Film Stills’ (1977–80), enthused by 1950s and 1960s film noir and Hollywood films; ‘Metaphorical History Portraits’ (1989–90); society portraits (2008) addressing the representation and experience of aging in the perspective of modern mania with youth (Hugh & Fleming, 2009).
One of the major printmakers is Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1844 -1926), who was also a painter (Griffiths, 1996). Although she was an American, a significant part of her life was spent in France. Cassatt assisted Edgar Degas and afterward displayed amongst the impressionists. Her images depicted private and social lives of children and women and laid particular importance on the close connection between children and mothers. Cassatt admired status founded on broad series of carefully drawn and gently observed prints and paintings on the subject of child and mother. Some of her aquatint and unique coloured prints include ‘The Coiffure and Woman Bathing’. Impressionism was her artistic style evidenced by the use of bold colours (Fernie, 1995).
Barbara Mason is another renowned printmaker, whose interest is translated into magnificent works by learners, who believed they could not make art as they could not draw. Mason’s enthusiasm in the prehistoric shapes of the primal rock artists is evident in her masterpieces (Griffiths, 1996). Her work has been exhibited globally and locally in various museums including the Portland Art Museum, Crow's Shadow Art Institute, and the Spencer Museum of Art.
Art has been used by individuals in all cultures, thus being able to express their feelings, believes and activities among other crucial aspects of life. It is apparent that every culture has its own artists in different genres. These artists have been there since the classical antiquity, renaissance, and to the contemporary era. In all cultures, art is a diverse array of human activities and the resulting creations from such activities. It is the range of human creations achieved through technical skills or via imagination. Culture influences individual judgment of who comprises the most renowned and greatest artists. However, what is common concerning the experience of art is that artists are influenced by the works of earlier artists, and the artistic styles used are universal. Besides, art changes as time passes in order to bring into existence the products that best fit the specific period.