5 Dead Artists You Should Know

salvador-daliVisiting an art museum in a new city can be a great way to spend an afternoon when you’re traveling; it can also be a little overwhelming if you’re not very familiar with the artists displayed in the museum. Or maybe you just want to add art to one of your conversation topics for dinner parties. A great way to become familiar with art is to become familiar with a handful of artists at a time. Here, find a list of five dead artists you should know.

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is heralded as one of the greatest modern painters in history, according to current scholars. His post-impressionist works—typified by his unique painting stroke–include Starry Night, which can be found on everything from printed posters to credit cards, and Sunflowers. He’s also known for his personal struggles with mental illness, which led to him cutting off his own ear and committing suicide at the age of 37. Van Gogh was not recognized as a great painter while he was alive; it was only after he’d passed away that his art received any notice.


Long before Madonna, Prince, and Cher, Michelangelo (1475-1563) was the first legendarily single-named artist. And for good reason—his full name (Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) is quite a mouthful. Michelangelo was a part of the Italian Renaissance, and was a jack-of-all trades when it came to which art form he preferred. He is known primarily for his sculptures (David and the Pieta are his most famous) and one massively epic painting—the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Frida Kahlo

Friday Kahlo (1907-1954) is one of the most famous female painters of all time. She is known primarily for her self-portraits and her infamous unibrow, but her most significant contribution is the way she brought the Mexican folk art of her ancestry into the realm of fine art. She was also active politically. A film about her life was made in 1992, starring actress Salma Hayek. The film won two Academy Awards.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was a quintessentially American modern artist. His art was focused on the politically dichotomy of urban America, which stemmed from his experiences as a graffiti artist in New York. He died young, at 27, of a heroin overdose. His art features bright colors and disjointed figures, and is usually mixed media—a term that means that his art is not solely painting, or drawing, or sculpture, but a combination. A film was made about his life in 1996.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) is the first name in surrealism, an art movement that was interested less in depicting reality and more in depicting the perception of reality. It is often rife with symbolism. To that end, his work (including The Persistence of Memory) communicates anxiety and emotion through motifs such as melting clocks. He was also a filmmaker; his most famous film, Un Chien Andalou, notoriously featured an eyeball being cut open. It also influenced 1980s rock band The Pixies on their song, Debaser.

Dustin Heath is a lawyer by profession. With work experience spanning a decade, his expertise has led him to work on corporate cases, representing prestigious companies and brands In his spare time, he writes for a weekly paper in his community, discussing his passion for do-it-yourself projects and valuable tips in home and living. He also teaches pre-law subjects in the university he graduated from and plans to be a book author in the future. He gets most of his ideas from the great attorney, Michael Ward Stout.