multicolored human face painting

Iconic Western Art Masterpieces Every Art Lover Should Know

Wassily Kandinsky made an influential impactful statement about Western art. His works were famous for their vibrant hues and expressive brushwork.

Cowboy paintings evoke a bygone era by depicting their lives and activities, while Charles Marion Russell explored themes related to cowboys and Indians through oil paintings. I often find myself looking at these arts out of my leisure hours of online poker on any of the sites described at


Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) was one of the 17th century’s greatest and most ambitious artists, known for his masterful use of chiaroscuro lighting techniques and controversial portraits depicting androgynous, sensuous young men who may or may not have been fully clothed, which have often been misread as having gay subtext.

Caravaggio left this early dated painting from his Rome days that has survived today, depicting Bacchus. The model may have been Mario Minniti a teenage artist whom Caravaggio often used for religious depictions later on in his career.

This painting explores the tension between its opulent setting and its stark reality – marked by the girl being attacked with scissors – and its barbarism; especially highlighted by her hands being cut off in this scene. The theme of opportunists ensnaring nave youths would recur in future works from this artist.

Caravaggio’s debut major commission demonstrates his dramatic flair. The cramped space is accented by an extended frontal source of light originating from above; figures are packed tightly together making it difficult to pick out individual personalities within each figure.

Van Eyck

Jan van Eyck was an extraordinary Flemish Renaissance painter known for incorporating an exceptional level of detail and luminosity into his works. His use of light and shadow to create three-dimensionality was unparalleled for its time, and he excelled at depicting human faces.

Van Eyck was propelled forward with a major breakthrough with his commission of the Ghent Altarpiece in 1428, when it marked an unprecedented change. Through this monumental piece he established a painting studio and employed assistants to assist in crafting masterpieces like this.

One of the most striking elements of Van Eyck’s painting is its double portrait depicting cloth merchant Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami, depicted surrounded by flowers and other symbolic objects, their reflections appearing in a mirror above them, thus blurring the boundaries between painted fiction and spatial reality.

Van Eyck was an innovator when he experimented with oil paint and thin layers to achieve incredible realism in his paintings, pioneering an entirely new technique which became immensely popular after Van Eyck.


Turner was a painter of extraordinary vision and sensibility. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and created numerous sketches and watercolours of England, Wales and Scotland as well as detailed illustrations for books written by Walter Scott, Lord Byron and Thomas Campbell. Additionally he created vignette paintings which condensed an array of landscapes and incidents into one image.

Turner became more daring with his use of color during the latter part of his life. His paintings became more abstract, featuring shimmering shades of light that created an almost pure luminosity – perhaps this was in reaction to Enlightenment era’s emphasis on subjective experience as seen through Romantic artist work.

One of Turner’s best-known paintings, Regulus, depicts the story of Roman general Regulus who refused to negotiate with Carthaginians and was blinded by their staring eyes. The painting showcases Turner’s extraordinary skill at conveying sun’s dazzling, almost supernatural power as well as brushwork’s ability to convey movement; its vibrant palette and way its sun engulfs both figures and landscape challenge our notions of what paintings can accomplish and foreshadow future developments, including Impressionism.


Cimabue (sometimes written Cenni di Peppi) was widely recognized during the Middle Ages as one of Florence’s greatest painters, creating many large icons and frescoes in St Francis Church in Assisi.

Cimabue’s life remains mysterious; most of our information about him comes from Italian art historian Giorgio Vasari’s writings; yet what we do know about his work demonstrates just how significant and influential he was.

Cimabue was one of the pioneering artists of his era to break free of traditional Byzantine art forms and introduce more naturalistic and emotional aspects in his compositions. Additionally, tempera paint allowed him to convey greater depth and movement through his works.

Cimabue was a prolific artist; however, only a handful of his paintings remain. However, in 2006 two panels that are thought to be his were discovered in France; one went to London’s National Gallery while Flagellation of Christ can be found at New York’s Frick Collection; both paintings could potentially form part of an ongoing polyptych.


Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was one of the greatest Baroque painters of the 17th century. His studio in Antwerp became a center for producing paintings favored by nobility and collectors across Europe; they included altarpieces, portraits, landscapes and scenes featuring mythological or allegorical subjects.

Rubens made his first trip to Italy while still in his early twenties and it left a profound mark on his work. Absorbing examples of Greek and Roman antiquity he saw along with Flemish traditions of northern realism that had been taught him as an apprentice, Rubens created his signature visual style from these influences.

Rubens was known for his exceptional ability to paint large groups of people while simultaneously depicting individual moments of drama – something few artists had accomplished prior to him. It was this ability of uniting the collective with individualism that cemented Rubens as an icon in Western art history.

The exhibit presents a rare opportunity to witness an example from Rubens’ work that has been meticulously restored by the Gallery’s team of conservators, providing an intriguing study of his precision and treatment of anatomy, which characterizes much of his oeuvre.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an integral figure of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and one of its foremost portraitists. An accomplished poet himself, Rossetti was close with John Ruskin. Rossetti painted Lady Lilith for Frederick Richards Leyland (a ship owner and art collector). Rossetti made numerous revisions based on feedback; initially using Fanny Cornforth as the model before shifting over to Alexa Wilding instead as her replacement was proposed by Leyland.

This image is an exploration in symbolism, with flowers serving as a frame around a female figure caught somewhere between heaven and earth. A mirror reflects back the room full of candles behind her; Lilith has long been recognized as an important icon representing women’s rights throughout history.

Though “Western Art” often sparks debate, its definition can encompass works from both Europe and America. Its term reflects its longstanding significance in art history; whether or not you consider yourself an artist yourself, western art provides a means for better understanding world cultures and histories as well as providing inspiration for creating pieces with real world ideologies reflected within them.

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was an eminent painter and art theorist renowned for his use of geometric forms to express spiritual or emotional ideas through color combinations. His work is widely considered one of the foundational developments of abstract expressionist art.

Kandinsky experimented with various styles and techniques throughout his early years, such as Impressionism, Pointillism and Fauvism. For instance, Der Blaue Riter uses an impressionist technique to depict a blue rider on horseback in 1903.

Kandinsky began moving away from representational painting and exploring more abstract styles around 1910, focusing on lines, shapes and colors interacting. His explorations into how painting related to music could be seen through titles like “improvisations” or “compositions,” as well as paintings like Improvisation 27 featuring geometric shaped canvases.

As World War I approached, Kandinsky began writing influential treatises on art theory and founding the New Artists’ Association of Munich. Following the war he returned to Russia, becoming one of its key figures for avant-garde art production; yet eventually rejected Russia’s argumentative materialism for Germany where he taught at Bauhaus schools until they were closed by Nazis.