Their insights into the human soul, the world of ideas and the deeper layers of life or nature have made many people to assume artists are quintessential beings brought on this world for a higher purpose. Visionary and with an unquenched thrust for the unconventional, their artistic genius found extraordinary ways of expression, be it photography, literature, painting, sculpting or music. We all owe a tribute to some of the most prolific and well-known artists around the world, for they have contributed immensely to the way we explore and understand beauty, life and death, love and hatred, nature and free will, and so much more.
1. Pablo Picasso
Like Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso is known as a man of multidisciplinary talents. He toyed with sculpting, printmaking, ceramics, and stage designing, but his most prolific work is by far revealed through his lifetime painting career. A man of controversial ideas, both hated and admired, Picasso is best remembered for his uncanny charisma, his political views and the numerous women he enticed to pose for him and then became his mistresses. Together with Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp, he brought about a revolutionary change in the 20th century plastic arts, making a fortune from constantly experimenting with different theories, techniques and ideas when painting. His longstanding affair with painting is generally accepted to be categorized in the following periods: the Blue Period (i.e. La Vie, 1903; The Old Guitarist, 1903), the Rose Period (i.e. Boy with a pipe, 1905), African-influenced Period (i.e. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907), Cubism (i.e. Three Musicians, 1921), Classicism and Surrealism (i.e. Guernica, 1937). Overall, Picasso produced approximately 13,500 paintings, 2,500 original prints, 1,000 ceramics, and about 700 sculptures.
2. Isaac Asimov
Literary critics have labeled Isaac Asimov’s writing style as unornamented and relatively bare; however, considering that he was a biochemistry professor, we easily understand why he preferred a rather concise and to-the-point style to others conveying more dramatic effects. His writing career spans over more than 50 years and it resulted in approximately 500 books of hard science fiction, non-fiction, mystery and fantasy. He is also the author of “Nightfall”, a short science fiction story which has been voted in 1964 as the best science fiction story of all time. Asimov gained worldwide recognition when the “Foundation” series were published. His extraordinary curiosity for different and even opposite fields of knowledge, from physics and chemistry to literature and the Bible, portrays a complex man who liked to joggle with ideas, who loved to imagine what the world could look like one day, who enjoyed teaching others and guiding them through the mysteries of the unknown.
3. Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn was born into a family of talented people with both of his brothers, Michael Haydn and Johann Evangelist Haydn, being actively involved on the music scene of that time. Although Joseph spent most of his lifetime in Austria as a court musician, by the time of his death he was one of the most appreciated and well-known European composers. His gift for music shone through from a very early age. At only 9 years old Joseph was impressing directors of music in Vienna, although once too often he was hungry and ashamed of not having decent clothes to wear. Joseph Haydn’s work includes no less than 2,500 string quartets, 1,890 piano sonatas, 1,450 string trios, 745 violin concertos, 326 piano concertos and 484 operas. No wonder he is still known as “The Father of String Quartet” and “Father of the Symphony”. Some critics venture to suggest that he wrote so much that publishers just couldn’t keep up with him, thus only a small part of his works were made public during his lifetime.
4. Henri-Cartier Bresson
Henri-Cartier Bresson was one of the most prolific French photographers of his time. He is also known as the “father of modern photojournalism”, yet showing interest both in painting and in movie directing. Photographic realism defined his style, while contemporary surrealist contributions stirred his interest. Bresson worked exclusively in black and white, rejecting darkroom manipulation and the use of flash. Although he took some of the most famous portrays ever exhibited, Bresson strongly avoided publicity, shying away from interviews and cameras. Many of his photographs are considered masterpieces that reveal the intricate richness of human existence.