Artists I wish I knew about when I was young.

Artists I wish I knew about when I was young.

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:
Antoine Watteau    his drawings captivate and fascinate me.  ‘his line has an electric fleetness’
Francois Boucher  expert draughtsmanship in a playful line.  Simple yet powerful  


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.
Berninifor the power of gesture and expressive force of his sculptures.
Of course Michelangeloand Leonardo  No need to say much about them.
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.
By | 2012-08-23T03:36:00+00:00 August 23rd, 2012|Uncategorized|2 Comments

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  1. Alicia E August 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Love the list Werner!

  2. Sadami August 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Dear Werner,
    I'm a life long learner and particularly love life drawings with lines. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and the wonderful drawings.
    Kind regards, Sadami

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