Artists I wish I knew about when I was young.
Many times in teaching I’ve mentioned artists’ names only to see blank looks on my students’ faces. Rather than be frustrated by this lack of awareness, I remind myself that I too once was unaware of these artists who would so greatly influence my life and work.
I still remember clearly the day a friend showed me a book of Andrew Wyeth’s work at the U of Guelph library and how deeply his drawings and paintings impressed me. And the same went for on for many other names and styles that I came across in studies at Guelph as well as discovering since. Each day new names and works come to my attention, of artists from long ago as well as contemporary. Such is the beauty of the ease of Internet searches, Facebook friends’ offerings, and of course books I can’t cease buying.
Never the less, there are a few that I think most art students should be aware of for, amongst many things, their superior drawing abilities.
So I’ve decided to put together a list of artists. By no means is it meant to be complete and all-encompassing list nor meant to be a survey. With today’s easy access to collection, museums, and bios as well as images on the web, it takes very little effort to find their work and explore others. I hope this will encourage more exploration beyond the realms of Manga and comic art**.
As to this list, they’re simply some of the ones that I’ve found interesting and influential. I’ve put in quick links to their drawings for a quick tour, but encourage you to get to know them and their times better.
So here goes in no particular order. Once again, all are chosen for their superior drawings and graphic abilities:
Jean Honore Fragonard for his studies of heads and faces. “singular originality, elegance, and spirit”
Pieter Breugel what a mind, what an imagination!
Rubens I am simply in awe of his drawings. Truly a giant.
Rembrandt to me, his studies of life on the streets is what café is all about. His quick pen lines tell a thousand stories in one stroke.
Gericault (his studies of horses) Stunning studies
Delacroix fascinated by his anatomy studies and sketch books of his travels. Another café great
Degas sensuality in line, tone and colour.
Raphael Can’t think much to say other than devine intervention.
Gustav Klimt Beautiful sensual studies.
Egon Schiele Intense drawings of the figure.
Heinrich Kley Amazing ability, simply put. I can see how he would have influenced animation.
Vincent Van Gogh Power of creativity and soul behind his lines.
Adolf Von Menzel beautiful drawings unfortunately considered academic but to me full of life.
Hans Holbein the younger for the clarity of line and power of sight (attributable to the lens according to David Hockney in his book Secret Knowledge)
Kathe Kollwitz for the intense humanity and powerful force of her work.
John Singer Sargent for the beauty of all of his paintings and the strength of his drawings.
Bernini for the power of gesture and expressive force of his sculptures.
This is the list that comes to mind. I am sure I have missed many names that will come to me later. But these are the giants I look to in awe and try to learn from.
**in no way is this meant to disparage comic or manga artists; rather it is meant as an encouragement to young artists to explore beyond those styles and look into the artists and works that preceded them. They may be surprised to see the similarities in expression and storytelling.