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About Artists

Updated on August 20, 2014

Learn About Famous Artists - Past and Present

Do you want to find out about famous artists past and present?

This is Makingamark's compendium of sites about famous artists in history and living today. It's organised according to:

1) country

2) time period

3) type of artist

These sites provide a learning resource for children and adults alike who want to find out more about specific artists. They comprise an overview of the artist and a compendium of links to other websites which provide more information about the artist.

Image: Artists Sketching in the White Mountains" by Winslow Homer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

501 Great Artists: A Comprehensive Guide to the Giants of the Art World - a compendium of artists from antiquity to the present day

This is a very fat book - with a very comprehensive listing of all the great artists which goes far beyond all the well known ones

Each artist's entry identifies

* brief biographical details

* a summary of their artistic style

* an explanation of their contribution to the development of art

* a short list of their masterworks

* an illustration of one of their works

Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars by 3 customer reviews

501 Great Artists
501 Great Artists
Hardcover: 640 pagesPublisher: Barron's Educational Series (September 12, 2008)

About Artists - Resources for Art Lovers

artists, art history and art galleries

I started creating websites about artists as a way of creating a home for all my bookmarks of useful information about the artists I wanted to learn more about - and from there they just grew like topsy!

This site now provides an index and ONE BOOKMARK to all my artist websites in my "Resources for ArtLovers" series. These websites are compendiums of links to useful advice and information on famous painters, sculptors and land artists, art history and places where you can go to see their art.


This section highlights hand-made lenses about really Great British Artists - painters, botanical and natural history artists, sculptors and land artists

These are notable artists whose work attracts people from miles around plus the ones which have passed the art history test and are still well regarded despite having lived a long time ago.

The focus is on providing good quality information about great British artists of the past and present who are notable

Famous British Artists in History

An Artist's Studio by Thomas Rowlandson [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"Watercolor with pen and red-brown, brown, and gray ink, over graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured, cream, wove paper"

Height: 267 mm (10.51 in). Width: 214 mm (8.43 in).

The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists - an A to Z list of artists in this authoritative - and best-selling - dictionary

This is a book for people who want text and facts rather than pictures

The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford Quick Reference)
The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford Quick Reference)
Paperback: 720 pagesPublisher: OUP Oxford; 4 editionPublication Date: 26 Feb 2009

Famous British Botanical and Natural History Artists

Image: The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens

Photograph by makingamark

Britain has a history of artists involved in significant historical developments in Botanical and Natural History Art. The stories behind the botanical art of the three British Botanical Artists are particularly fascinating

* Sydney Parkinson sailed with Captain Cook on the Endeavour, documented plants and flora on Captain Cook's expeditions to explore new territory and was the first non-Aboriginal artist to set foot on Australian soil.

* Elizabeth Blackwell created and published her Herbal to raise funds to save her husband from debtors' prison. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first British Woman to engrave and colour as well as plants in "A Curious Herbal" in 1735

* Margaret Mee went to live in the Amazon so she could draw and paint the plants and flowers of the Amazon.

Thomas Bewick was a natural history artist who changed the practices of both wood engraving and book illustration. He is famous for his miniature tale pieces

You can read about botanical artists and exhibitions of botanical art in London and at Kew Gardens on my blog Making A Mark. Click the links to go to a list of past blog posts

Contemporary British Painters

David Hockney at Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts
David Hockney at Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts

Image: Banner outside the Royal Academy of Arts for David Hockney exhibition in 2012

Photograph: copyright Katherine Tyrrell / Makingamark

BOOK: 50 British Artists You Should Know - by Lucinda Hawksley

I find the Prestel 50 Artists you should know to be an excellent introduction to a topic - even if I don't always agree with the 50 artists they've selected. Books are also good quality publications.

50 British Artists You Should Know
50 British Artists You Should Know
Paperback: 160 pagesPublisher: Prestel USA (April 27, 2011)This is a highly readable and informative collection of the best of British art. It includes magnificent portraits by Thomas Gainsborough and Stanley Spencer; landscapes by J. M. W. Turner and David Hockney; satire by William Hogarth and Gilbert & George; sculpture by Henry Moore and Rachel Whiteread; and the latest works by Grayson Perry and Damien Hirst.Each artist is presented in a double-page spread that features a major work, details from the work, a brief biography and fascinating insights into the artist's life and times.

Contemporary British Sculptors and Land Artists

A Henry Moore Sculpture in Kew Gardens

Image: Photograph by makingamark

Britain has some very notable sculptors and land artists. This is a link to the Royal British Society of Sculpture

The best place to see the art of all three artists listed below is outside

BOOK: Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary - by Andrew Graham-Dixon


Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars by 26 customer reviews on | Like (72)

I own this book and it provides an excellent chronological introduction to art across the centuries. It's both authoritative and accessible - and covers 700 artists in 540 pages. Plus succinct introductions to all the key art movements and major themes in terms of subject matter. It's suitable for all those interested in art - and who want to learn more about the past

Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary
Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary
Hardcover: 612 pagesPublisher: DK Publishing (October 20, 2008)


This section highlights hand-made lenses about really Great European Artists - from France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Italy

BOOK: The Private Lives of the Impressionists

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED This is a thoroughly good read and helps enormously with understanding how Impressionism started and the relationships between the different painters

The Private Lives of the Impressionists
The Private Lives of the Impressionists
Paperback: 368 pagesPublisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (October 23, 2007)

BOOK: Impressionism: 50 Paintings You Should Know

Impressionism: 50 Paintings You Should Know ( Should Know)
Impressionism: 50 Paintings You Should Know ( Should Know)
Paperback: 135 pagesPublisher: Prestel Publishing (July 1, 2007)

Swiss Artists

Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) and a False Coral Snake (Anilius scytale). by Maria Sibylla Merian [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

hand coloured copper engraving (1719)

Maria Sibylla Merian is one of my favourite botanical and natural history artists for all sorts of reasons.

* she created botanical / natural history paintings with an innovative compositional style and is very attractive to view.

* she also displayed the life cycle of an insect against the background of its host plant.

Spanish Artists

These three Spanish artists - Goya, Sorolla and Picasso - are very much admired and have been hugely influential

Italian Artists

'The Thames and the City of London from Richmond House' by Canaletto [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Canaletto is the Italian landscape painter who led the genre of "vedute" - view painting - in age of the Grand Tour. he's famous for painting Venice but he also lived in London for a while and created a number of well known paintings

BOOK: 50 Women Artists You Should Know

Women artists tend not to be as well known as the male of the species. If you want to learn more about women artists this is a very good place to start.


Famous North American Artists in History

Image: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,

oil on canvas painting by Thomas Moran, 1904 Thomas Moran [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the characteristic features of North American Artists is how many of them painted landscapes and the wilderness.

Others who were more urbane worked alongside the Impressionists in France

BOOK: 50 American Artists You Should Know

50 American Artists You Should Know (50 You Should Know)
50 American Artists You Should Know (50 You Should Know)
Paperback: 160 pagesPublisher: Prestel (April 1, 2010)

Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists

I find a solid reference source - such as the Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists - to be an absolutely invaluable way of studying artists. This one has 945 biographical entries about American artists organised alphabetically

Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists (Oxford Quick Reference)
Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists (Oxford Quick Reference)
Paperback: 560 pagesPublisher: Oxford University Press, USA (December 10, 2008)

Contemporary American Artists

artists of the 20th and 21st centuries

My preference is for contemporary painters who lean towards representational art even if their paintings are, in their eyes, essentially abstractions

I love:

* the figurative and landscape art in egg tempera and watercolour of Andrew Wyeth

* the abstracted flower and landscape paintings of New Mexico of Georgia O'Keeffe

* the amazing techniques of portrait painter Chuck Close


Japanese Artists

The Great Wave off Kanagawa (Literally: "Under a Wave off Kanagawa") by Katsushika Hokusai [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons(1760-1849)

Part of the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, no. 21

color woodblock print

These artists have been a huge influence on Western Art - particularly artists like Monet, Degas, Whistler and Cassatt


Australian Artists

"Sydney Harbour" 1907 by Arthur Streeton (1867-1943) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Australian artists have found inspiration in the unique features - landscape and light - of Australia.

Sydney Parkinson is included below because he travelled with James Cook and was the first artist to set foot on Australian soil, to draw an authentic Australian landscape, and to portray Aboriginal people from direct observation and he was the first European artist to depict the distinctive flora and fauna of Australia for scientific purposes .

BOOK: Concise Dictionary of Australian Artists

This Concise Dictionary of Australian Artists is an authoritative reference book which is intended to be representative rather than comprehensive. The text covers a wide range of styles, media, regions, ethnic origins and artistic tendencies over more than two centuries. Entries reflect up-to-date scholarship and the rejection of entrenched fallacies and untested assumptions.

Concise Dictionary of Australian Artists
Concise Dictionary of Australian Artists
Paperback: 304 pagesPublisher: Melbourne University Publishing (September 1, 1993)


BOOK: The Art Museum

RECOMMENDED Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by 36 customer reviews on

This is a seriously heavy weight book - in both senses of the word. I know - I own a copy and it's not easy to read as it's so big and so heavy. However it has the most fantastic content in terms of images of artwork in museums all over the world, In total there are over 1,000 oversized pages containing some 2,500 images of artwork

The Art Museum
The Art Museum
Hardcover: 992 pagesPublisher: Phaidon Press (October 17, 2011)Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.8 x 16.5 inchesShipping Weight: 18.4 pounds

The Annotated Mona Lisa - A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern


Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars by 33 customer reviews on | Like (48)

I own this book and it's amazing how much it condenses into what is a not a thick book. Excellent overview of art history - probably the best synopsis I know

The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern (Volume 1) (Annotated Series)
The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern (Volume 1) (Annotated Series)
Paperback: 216 pagesPublisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; 2 edition (October 1, 2007)


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