There is a painting by Rembrandt in The Wallace Collection in London that ranks as one of my all time favourite paintings. It is of his son Tito, and, with the loosest and most painterly touch, the great artist has conveyed both the love he had for his son, and the love that his son had for him. A real tour de force.
I agree with Paraglider. I don't believe that any single artist deserves that accolade, but on a personal basis, I love the work of John Singer Sargent, and also Glyn Philpott. Both were great portrait artists, but were also skilled in other disciplines.
It's really hard to pick out the "one" greatest artist, as the various historic periods in art have produced such a variety of styles, making it difficult to compare them. Certainly Michelangelo was a genious and magnificent artist. But each period had its "greats". My favorite period was that of the Impressionists, which produced many creative artists who contributed to new and innovative ways of looking at the world artistically and working with color.
For me it comes down to Michaelangelo and Beethoven. Both were prodigiously and continuously creative. Both created unique, deeply influential works. Both overcame considerable obstacles in order to produce their best work.
After all these and other factors are weighed, there remains a sense of imbalance in one of the above elements--that of obstacles overcome to produce the very best of the individual artist's work and at the same time the very best of works in that artist's chosen field of activity. The imbalance seems to fall in favor of Beethoven.
Talented blind musicians abound. How many deaf musicians, however, are known throughout the world for both their talent and its profound influence, as is the case with Beethoven?
For the scales to be balanced as to obstacles overcome between the above-mentioned artists, the painter would have to have been lacking in one of the main senses needed to produce his art (say, some sort of extreme sight malady or a severe problem with color perception), yet have on record genuine works of art that influenced his craft at its roots. That is exactly what happened in the case of Beethoven, who was seriously handicapped before much or most of his best work was produced.
From that standpoint, I conclude that LUDWIG VON BEETHOVEN would rightfully wear the wreath entitled Greatest Artist Ever, if there were such a thing.
its quite hard to pick someone of my mind, because there are so many out there. I will go with one that really impacted my youth and that is Leiji Matsumoto. Queen Millenia creator among many other great anime.