I don't know about you, but I love art history. I even got a minor in art history just because I wanted to take more art history courses than my major required! What I love about old art is that it can inspire me in all sorts of ways, which ultimately makes my works more interesting and original.
This is a list of my top 10 favorite dead artists in no particular order. I hope you find at least one of them inspiring and if you have a favorite artist that I didn't talk about, please share! I love learning new things!
#1 Alphonse Mucha
Art Movement: Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau and particularly Alphonse Mucha's work is very popular, even today. Many contemporary illustrators create work inspired by Mucha's style. Mucha's style is characterized by soft, curved lines, delicate details and intricate tendrils of hair.
#2 J. C. Leyendecker
J. C. Leyendecker was a very successful American illustrator in the 20's and 30's. Amon his most famous works are his illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post and his illustrations for Arrow Collar ads. He developed a very elegant and manly look for the Arrow Collar man (as seen on the far right).
#3 Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell was inspired by J. C. Leyendecker, though his style is a little more realistic and his illustrations have a particularly nostalgic feel. Rockwell's illustrations also have much stronger story-telling qualities compared to Leyendecker's more decorative illustrations.
#4 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Art Movement: Post-Impressionism
I love Toulouse-Lautrec's paintings and posters of the Moulin Rouge. I particularly appreciate the way he gave his subjects so much personality and character. I also love how bold and vivid his poster designs are.
#5 Claude Monet
Art Movement: Impressionism
Monet's work had an interesting lack of detail that suggested a lot of detail. As an impressionist his focus was in portraying the colors and quality of light he saw in real life. I really appreciate his Rouen Cathedral series, in which he painted the same subject at different times of day, achieving a variety of results that are each unique in their own way.
#6 John Singer Sargent
Art Movement: American Renaissance
Sargent was a very successful portrait painter in his time. His most famous portrait is perhaps that of Madame X, which created a scandal at the Paris Salon in 1884 for being "sexually suggestive". He painted many other wealthy people's portraits and was known for accurately portraying the sitter's personality and character.
#7 Gustav Klimt
Art movement: Vienna Secession
Gustav Klimt had a very decorative and pattern-oriented style. His most famous painting is perhaps "The Kiss". He portrayed women using delicate lines and curves, adding in geometric shapes and other decorative elements within his works. Most of his works have a very gentle, dream-like quality that I love.
#8 John William Waterhouse
Art Movement: Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
Being part of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Waterhouse often painted imaginary medieval settings, portraying the knight and damsel archetypes beautifully, as well as mythological subjects and many of Shakespeare's plays. His female subjects are usually portrayed as brooding, helpless young girls waiting for a brave knight to rescue them.
#9 Tamara de Lempicka
Art Movement: Art Deco
Tamara de Lempicka had a talent for making people look untouchable and incredibly fabulous. Her figures have a metal-like quality that embodies art deco and makes the subjects look like beautiful statues. Her personal life was also very interesting and dramatic.
#10 William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Art Movement: Neoclassicism
Keeping within the Neoclassicism tradition, Bouguereau painted many religious and mythological themes. He had an incredible talent for painting the female nude. The women appear angelic and their skin is almost glowing. One of my all-time favorites is his Birth of Venus.
Which one was your favorite? Do you know any other artists that I didn't mention in this list? Please tell me in the comments below!