Who are the greatest oil painting artists of all time? The question will undoubtedly bring out varied differences of opinion from the readers of this article. Over the last 500 years, really since the dawn of the renaissance, the world has been blessed with numerous talented and prolific artists. I have chosen five exceptional personalities that I think have had the greatest impact on the art world.
Here are my top 5, numbered in order of importance:
Oil Painting Artist #1 Leonardo Da Vinci:
Leonardo was born the illegitimate son of Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman named Caterina, in Vinci, near Florence. He was educated primarily by Verrocchio, and much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice and spent his last years in France, at the home awarded him by Francis I.
Leonardo’s first opportunity for greatness came via Verroccio, who had him paint an angel in his “Baptism of Christ” piece. As you might expect, Leonardo did a fantastic job at this 1st opportunity. In fact, it was so good that Verrochio himself decided he would never paint again. Leonardo continued working with Verrochio for a few years, and then the two parted ways.
As time went on Leonardo found himself in Rome, where most artists of the time would eventually wind up. He was given living quarters in the Vatican by Pope Leo X in consideration for completing his commissioned pieces for the Church. Leonardo did not create many new paintings during this period, concentrating on his drawings instead. Although he would later become famous for his future studies of scientific subjects and anatomy, he would eventually find the time to do so. As you know, he is probably as famous today for these scientific discoveries as he is for his works of art.
His most famous works are probably the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. They certainly are the most reproduced. It’s a shame that we don’t have more of his work nowadays to enjoy.