The artistic works have existed for almost as long as humanity starting from early prehistoric art to modern art. In this paper, the artworks of famous masters such as Picasso, Veneto, Warhol, Bouguereau, Magritte, Johns, Remington, and Van Gogh, representatives of different cultural movements starting from High Italian Renaissance of 16th century to the twentieth-century pop art, are analyzed. Each artist is unique and exceptional in his style. All the painters discussed in an essay undoubtedly left a great legacy of their masterpieces for the next generations.
Bartolomeo Veneto, Portrait of a Lady, 1520s (High Italian Renaissance, early 16th century)
Bartolomeo Veneto was an Italian artist whose interest in portraiture developed in Venice, a major Renaissance art center of the end of 15th century. The painter used to combine various Italian styles with the Northern impact, performing his basic abilities of a great flair for realism and exceptional attention to details. Venetians were the first who used oils for painting on both canvas and wood panel. The naturalistic application of light and soft contours of a model’s face in the Portrait of a Lady represents Veneto’s diverse stylistic skills and signifies a close relation to the style of Leonardo da Vinci. The portrait of a sitter is considerably subtle. It relates to the Northern Italian School. In the painting, the ointment jar on the ledge is supposed to identify a sitter with Mary Magdalene, a religious figure in Christianity who applied an ointment to Christ’s feet. A lady is portrayed with superior jewelry and needlework against a dark green background with her head-turning a little to the left. She has an alluring look at the viewers. Moreover, the portrait may reflect the status of the actual model as a wealthy lady, while her serious and sincere look signifies the godliness of a saint, a woman’s likely namesake, 1520s).
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Elder Sister, 1869 (Realism, 19th century)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a successful quintessential French academic artist of Realism era who focused on typical interpretations of objectively real classical themes depicting people of all classes and their ordinary lives. The painter created his famous artwork The Elder Sister within the traditional academic style using exceptional painterly skills. It is a sensitive scene where the painter’s children serve as sitters. The artwork depicts a girl who is holding a baby on her lap; she is sitting on a rock with a calm rural background behind her. The alluring beauty of the girl and her eyes directly gazing at the viewers, the unified and harmonic design skills including the position of children’s arms and legs converging at the core of the portrait precisely introduce Bouguereau’s style. Dressed in clean clothing, children pose against an idyllically rural background. Bouguereau’s moderate paint application and careful attention to all the details have resulted in almost super-realistic artwork. In the painting, the author successfully captured the delicate and sophisticated nuances of personality and mood. Bouguereau’s incredible design skills are evident in realistic and sentimental The Elder Sister.
Frederic Remington, Fight for the Waterhole, 1903 (Impressionism, 19th century)
Frederic Remington was an eminent American painter and sculptor who specialized in depictions of the Old American West focusing on the images of cowboys, American Indians, and cavalry. Since Remington was interested in portraying Western people, the landscape for him was of secondary concern. His style can be described as naturalistic and impressionistic with extensive use of the traditional sand-cast method. One of Remington’s outstanding paintings is Fight for the Waterhole, in which he took artistic liberties in his depiction of human action. In the painting, Remington depicts cowboys who are hiding in a waterhole. It serves as a protection from the persecuting Indians and the source of survival in the arid desert. The perspective provides the painting with a panoramic quality and depicts a big shadow to express a real threat of death during the Indian War. Fight for the Waterhole reflects heroic figures who settled the West and their struggle for independence, optimism, and bravery.
Vincent van Gogh, The Rocks, 1888 (Post-Impressionism, 19th century)
Vincent van Gogh was a recognizable Post-Impressionist Dutch painter whose masterpieces with their daring tones, rough beauty, and effective honesty had an extensive impact on twentieth-century art. Van Gogh transformed his artistic inspiration into a highly expressive personal style. His eminent artwork The Rocks introduce Montmajour, a rocky locality near the city of Arles in the South of France, where the artist was impressed by the bright sunlight. A unique style of Van Gogh was hugely influenced by the works of impressionists and post-impressionists. While working on The Rocks, the painter encountered difficulties since blustery and fierce wind that swept across this area severely whipped against the canvas. Van Gogh’s energy leaps outwards from his energetic brushwork and the amazing variety of brushstrokes with which the artist set his pure shades. A powerful way in which the painter exploits vibrant and vivid colors in The Rocks makes this artwork emotive, simplistic, strong, and expressive. Van Gogh’s frenetic marking combined with his wide use of blue, green, and yellow tones results in an extremely lively image. This painting is an effort to reflect Van Gogh’s emotional state and establish a connection between a viewer and artist overcoming the emotional barrenness of contemporary society.
Pablo Picasso, The Rower, 1910 (Cubism, early 20th century)
Pablo Picasso remains one of the greatest artists for his radical rethinking of how art communicates. The painter is known for establishing the Cubist movement and a wide variety of styles he has investigated. Picasso’s recognizable masterpiece The Rower is a fundamental Cubist artwork. Created in the Spanish fishing countryside, the painting was primarily supposed to portray a man canoeing. However, it is more likely to be a study of a seated lady. The artwork refers to the Analytic Cubism as observed in the painting’s restricted palette of black, gray, and brown colors and almost unrecognizable subject. The figure, which is defined by complex horizontal layers, appears from an indefinite background. Such features as the sharp angles of elbows, rectangular neck, oval head, and even the position of shapes suggest abstractive volumes in space.
Rene Magritte, The Dominion of Lights, 1954 (Surrealism, early 20th century)
Rene Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist who became known for a considerable number of thought-provoking surrealistic images. His artworks challenge the traditional perception of reality. Magritte’s paintings often introduce a collection of ordinary objects in an extraordinary connection representing a new meaning of familiar themes. His pictures, in particular, The Dominion of Lights, considerably resonate. The painting “hangs in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and it used to be displayed on a wall beside a great window that opened on to the Grand Canal and a marvelously flooding Venetian light”. Such location seems to add to the vivid ambiguities of the canvas itself. The simultaneity of daylight and darkness is unnerving. In the painting, a viewer can see the dark exterior of a house with one illuminated street lamp and the sky in daylight. However, the artwork lacks a tonal refinement, and it influences viewers visually and morally.
Jasper Johns, Ventriloquist, 1983 (Abstract Expressionism, mid-20th century)
Jasper Johns is an American painter known for his pioneering use of everyday stuff with an innovative technique in printmaking and painting. Like the Abstract Expressionist, he developed his own unique artistic identity expressing profound social alienation after World War II that led to the creation of a new universal and moral art. The artist came up with recognizable symbols such as targets, numbers, and flags. In his encaustic artwork Ventriloquist, Johns organized such imagery to make a symbolical self-portrait. In the mid-1980s, the artist launched a series of pictures based on items that he had collected and images that he had created introducing his artistic process and influence. A ventriloquist is the most intimate artwork, in which the artist gets rid of his usual reserve. The painting seems to be realistic due to depicted comprehensive items and shaded nail on the right half. However, the left part of the picture relates rather to the Illusionism. An arranged pair of American flags, one of the Johns’s prominent motifs, bridges the divide. Similarly to a ventriloquist projecting his voice through a puppet, Johns “mobilizes an array of objects and images to address his place among the rich abundance of America’s visual culture”.
Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, 1986 (Pop Art, mid-20th century)
Andy Warhol was the most impressive representative of the 20th-century pop art movement who created art style corresponding to the conception of commercial popular art. In his works, Warhol widely addressed the real world exploring its fragmentation and disordered relation to popular culture. His colorful Self-Portrait of 1986 is an impressive and poignant artwork from his last remarkable series of self-portraits. This artwork is a typically solid combination of painting and photography within one exceptional and memorable image. Warhol created his works, in particular, the Self-Portrait of 1986, on more than just a personal level. In the painting under consideration, the bright but, at the same time, the ghost-like appearance of the painter’s gaunt features is isolated against the portrait’s black background. Andy stares wild-eyed directly at the viewers. Moreover, a portrait shows Andy not merely as a man but also as the phenomenon and icon of the pop art culture. As a morbid masterpiece, a self-portrait depicts a visibly aging artist confronting inevitableness of his disappearance from the light of existence. The Self-Portrait of 1986 is a culmination of the astonishing series of paintings about mortality and death that Warhol has been creating since the 1970s.