I’m not going to talk about my artist wife today. I’ve had enough of sleeping on the couch each night my weekly story comes out. I need at least one Saturday night in my own bed.
Instead, since I have previously proven my ability to appreciate historic artists like Van Gogh, I’m going to share with you the unequivocal top 4 artists of all time. My Mount Rushmore of the greats.
When I first launched these weekly stories I always knew I would make an all-star team, if you will, of all-time artists. I’ve been researching and writing and rewriting this list for months.
As you know, my artist wife’s favourite is Kandinsky, but he doesn’t crack my top four.
Without further gilding the lily, here’s the greatest team of four artists you could ever assemble:
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483-1520)
This Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance is clearly the alpha of this group. His body of work shows a certain fearlessness, bravery, and resourcefulness that sometimes comes across as bossy and impulsive. Nonetheless, while he didn’t always think everything through, he would be the first out of the gate.
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (1386-1466)
Despite the mouthful of a name, this Italian sculptor was a mechanical genius with his work. He’s a thinker. Smart and philosophical, he was meticulous and could get lost in the research for his work.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
No team of the best artists of all time would be complete without the Italian polymath. His irreverent charm and rebel heart certainly make him the coolest artist on this team. He’s the clear leader of this group and is the glue that bonds these four together.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564)
After I finish buying all the vowels, Michelangelo rounds out the team. He is likely the most influential Italian sculptor/painter. Wild and imaginative, he had tons of energy and often looked at life with optimism and a sense of humour.
As a bonus, let’s toss a fifth and much-lesser-known addition onto this team of all-time greats:
Arnold Bernid Jones — Being the only non-Italian to make the team says it all. The New York City native was a bit of a vigilante when it came to his work, he had a good heart. Jones, better known as Casey to his peers, was also fierce in his defence of the other four on this team.
There were many criteria that went into selecting my team of all-time greats:
- Having an incredibly long name;
- Being from Italy, the homeland of pizza;
- Prolific ability to entertain;
- Staying relevant to their audience.
In the end, however, it seems one criteria stood out above the rest.
For me, it was about capturing the imaginations of children in bodacious ways. Could my all-star team of four — later, five — inspire a generation? Would their overall body of work stand the test of time for my kids? Their kids?
I believe this team does exactly that.