Learn about the mould breakers

The artists who pushed the boundaries and broke the rules

The 20th century was a dynamic and transformative period in the history of art, characterized by numerous artistic movements and groundbreaking innovations. Artists during this time were driven by a strong desire to leave their indelible mark on a rapidly evolving world. Delving into the lives and works of these remarkable artists is an enlightening journey that offers valuable insights into their creative processes and the societal influences that shaped their art. My ‘The Life of an Artist’ videos explore the passions, struggles, and triumphs of these visionary artists as they navigated the ever-changing landscape of art and left an enduring legacy for future generations to admire and study.

Featured Art History tutorials

The Painter of the Tortured Soul

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) was a highly influential and controversial British artist. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he is renowned for his raw and visceral paintings that explored the depths of the human psyche. Bacon’s work often depicted distorted and anguished figures, with bold brushstrokes and vibrant colours that conveyed a sense of intense emotion and existential anguish.

He was deeply influenced by existential philosophy, as well as by the horrors of World War II. Bacon’s art challenged traditional notions of beauty and pushed the boundaries of figurative painting.

His haunting and provocative imagery continues to captivate audiences, making him one of the most celebrated and innovative artists of the 20th century.

Documented the Black Experience

Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) was a renowned African American artist known for his powerful visual narratives and social commentary. Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Lawrence developed a passion for art at an early age. His most famous work, the “Migration Series,” depicted the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North, capturing the struggles and triumphs of their journey.

Lawrence’s style combined vibrant colours, simplified shapes, and a distinctive angularity, reflecting his unique vision. His artwork explored themes of race, history, and social justice, bringing attention to the African American experience and challenging racial inequality.

Through his art, Lawrence not only documented history but also made a lasting impact on the world of American art, inspiring generations of artists and activists.

The Creative Genius of his Time

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer who revolutionised the world of art in the 20th century. Considered one of the most influential artists of his time, Picasso co-founded the Cubist movement and pioneered innovative techniques, challenging traditional artistic norms.

His prolific career spanned over seven decades, during which he created an estimated 50,000 artworks, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, and textiles. Picasso’s diverse body of work reflects his extraordinary versatility and constant exploration of new artistic avenues.

From the iconic “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” to the masterpiece “Guernica,” his art continues to captivate and inspire generations. Picasso’s groundbreaking contributions forever changed the course of modern art, cementing his legacy as an artistic genius.

Explore the life stories of other famous 20th century artists

Art is part of life – it helps us to understand the world

Artists experimented with new approaches to perspective. They discovered different ways of representing the world we see. These radical developments by 20th century artists reflected and were influenced by economics, industry and social unrest. This century saw the development of abstraction, expressionism post modernism and so much more.

For more comprehensive biographies, videos and other information about great 20th century artists, check out my art history website.

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Art history provides a means of understanding our human past and its relationship to our present. The knowledge and inspiration gained contributes to how we feel, see and understand the world around us.

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Inspired by Art History?

Want to learn more about the lives of influential artists? What motivated and inspired them to create their art?  The problems they encountered and the battles fought to achieve success.  Their lives are intriguing.

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