11.02.2021
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Great artists – truth or myth?

Dispelling myths about 5 great painters

Сальвадор Дали, "Сон", 1937 год
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Art of the turn of XIX-XX centuries – what is it? Great? Breakthrough? Unexpected? Undoubtedly. But the word «different» better describes the art of this period.

The second half of the 19th and 20th centuries gave us many great artists and genres. And individual masters have become tightly associated with their directions in art. Does no one doubts that Kazimir Malevich – Suprematist, and Auguste Renoir – the pioneer of Impressionism?

But there were artists who did not identify themselves with those styles at all, as is commonly believed. Today we will tell you about five of the most famous of them.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí

What is the question? Obviously, he is surreal… however, stop. In fact, the most famous surrealist painter in 1939 was excluded from the group of surrealists, and for the next 53 years of his work he was not the official representative of this direction. From their conflict, by the way, was born the phrase of Dali «I am not a surrealist, I am surrealism!»

Dali discovered his own unique technique – the paranoid-critical method, which differs from the method of the surrealists. And despite the fact that Dali is now considered the greatest representative of Surrealism, for most of his career he formally belonged to a different style.

Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet,  «А Bar at the Folies Bergere», 1882
Edouard Manet, «А Bar at the Folies Bergere», 1882

In many sources, Édouard Manet is ranked alongside Claude Monet and the Impressionist company. In fact, Edouard was their predecessor. Of course, Manet communicated with the Impressionists and was interested in their work, but he himself denied any involvement with this style. On the contrary, throughout his career Manet strove for an official professional appraisal – that is, the recognition of the Salon, which the Impressionists opposed. And Manet never even once exhibited with them.

Edvard Munch

Edward Munch «The Scream», 1893
Edward Munch «The Scream», 1893

Next on our list is the author of the famous «The Scream» and other masterpieces. The direction of the artist, it would seem obvious – expressionism. But no! Expressionism evolved much later and independently of Munch. Meanwhile, the Norwegian master the young expressionists considered the ancestor of the direction and were inspired by his work.

But Munch himself created under the influence of Symbolism – a style of which he was a contemporary.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (years of life: 1907-1954)
Frida Kahlo (years of life: 1907-1954)

The Mexican artist was considered by her contemporaries to be a Surrealist (particularly André Breton). But Kahlo herself categorically denied it (although she actively exhibited with the surrealists). She said that she «painted only her own reality and was not into fantasies». Plus Kahlo had no special education, and in combination with her formal features her work is referred to as the direction of naive art.

Bonus

Leonardo da Vinci's drawings: Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (left) and Vitruvian Man (right)
Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings: Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (left) and Vitruvian Man (right)

Leonardo da Vinci – who was he?

The author of «Mona Lisa», «Vitruvian Man», «The Last Supper» and many other masterpieces which everyone knows for sure. However, the master never positioned himself as an artist. In the Renaissance, science and art were two sides of the same coin, and an outstanding man had to prove himself in different fields. Leonardo da Vinci referred to himself not as an artist but as an engineer (for example, in his resume, which he sent to the Duke of Milan in 1482). Another indication that painting was not his main occupation is how few paintings he painted.

Of course, the boundaries of styles in art are very conditional – everything is adaptive and subjective, each work of art is unique and combines many elements. But we have tried to dispel 5 common myths about well-known artists, based on generally accepted norms.

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