Famous Art and Artists Little Known Facts

Today at Light Future Art, we’re going to share some interesting little known facts about some of the world’s most famous artworks and artists.

Mona Lisa Painting
Mona Lisa

1. Leonardo da Vinci took 17 years to complete the Mona Lisa and was easily distracted in his work. He would often leave his projects to start something new or jot down ideas, never to return to them again.
2. Johannes Vermeer used a forerunner to the camera, the Camera Obscura, to take pictures of scenes he wished to paint and then project those images onto the canvas. This technique was frowned on by many.
3. Rodin’s The Thinker was originally conceived of to be part of a larger piece of work about Dante’s Inferno, with the figure which would become The Thinker representing Dante himself.
4. Salvador Dali made a painting of Jesus on the cross intended to be displayed for the prisoners at Rikers Island in New York. It was later removed from the prisoners’ dining room to keep it safe but was stolen in 2003 by three prison guards and the warden. The painting was made in compensation for a visit he canceled.


American Gothic Painting
American Gothic

5. The famous painting American Gothic, by Grant Wood, was posed for by Wood’s sister and the artist’s dentist. Wood originally asked his mother to sit for the painting but she was unwilling to do so.
6. The red sky in Edvard Munch’s The Scream was probably a depiction of the aftermath of the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. Though he didn’t know what it was, witnessing a bright red sky while out walking one day shortly after the eruption was what he credited as his inspiration for the artwork.
7. Rafał Bujnowski, a Polish painter, used a photograph of a realistic self-portrait on his official identification for his visa and passport.


Van Gogh Self-protrait
Van Gogh Self-portrait

8. The marble that Michelangelo’s David is sculpted from wasn’t actually intended for Michelangelo originally. It was owned by and worked on by two other artists prior, both of who abandoned their work or found marble too difficult to work with.
9. Rembrandt’s students liked to prank their teacher by painting coins on the floor, tricking him into trying to pick them up. They did this due to his reputation for stinginess.
10. Van Gogh was mostly self-taught and only began painting at the age of 27. Before becoming an artist, he tried to make a living in several other careers, such as teacher and art dealer.



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