Frida Kahlo--who began painting while recovering from a serious road accident at the age of 15--sent her early work to the painter Diego Rivera, whom she later married. Her works are often shocking in their stark portrayal of pain and the harsh lives of women.
"Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" was the most famous painting of Georges Seurat, founder of the 19th-century French school of Neo-Impressionism whose technique for portraying the play of light using tiny brushstrokes of contrasting colours became known as Pointillism. This painting inspired a Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim entitled Sunday in the Park With George.
Edvard Munch painted "The Scream" after a walk with two friends during which he sensed an "endless scream passing through nature". To describe this experience, he developed an exciting, violent, and emotionally charged style that is recognized by most critics as leading to the birth of German Expressionism.
The Dada school of art, or Dadaism, can be traced back to Zürich and the poetry of Romanian-born Tristan Tzara. Born out of the widespread disillusionment created by World War I, Dada attacked conventional standards of aesthetics and behavior and stressed absurdity and the role of the unpredictable in artistic creation. The principles of Dada were eventually modified to become the basis of surrealism.
Edgar Degas is acknowledged as the master of drawing human figures in motion. In the early 1870s, the female ballet dancer became his favorite theme. He sketched from a live model in his studio and combined poses into groupings that depicted rehearsal and performance scenes. Although he worked in many mediums, he preferred pastels to all others.
Sandro Botticelli was summoned to Rome in 1481 by Pope Sixtus IV, and charged with decorating the walls of the Sistine Chapel. Botticelli completed three paintings, "Events of the Life of Moses", "The Temptation of Christ", and "The Punishment of Korah", only to have his work upstaged two decades later by the ceiling frescoes of Michelangelo?
When Van Gogh was hospitalized on Christmas Eve, 1888, after trying to cut off his own ear, the official diagnosis furnished by the hospital in Arles was "acute mania with generalised delirium." There is no consensus on a modern diagnosis of van Gogh's illness, though some have suggested bipolar disorder, possibly exacerbated by absinthe drinking and venereal disease.
Louis Leroy, an art critic for the French newspaper Le Charivari, coined the term "impressionists" to satirize the artists involved in an 1874 art show entitled The Exhibition of Impressionists. In his review, he wrote: "Impression I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it -- and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! A preliminary drawing for a wallpaper pattern is more finished than this seascape." The term was subsequently adopted by the artists themselves and has become the name of one of the most influential movements in the history of art.