Vincent Van Gogh is known for cutting off his ear and sending it to a lover. Dalí was obsessed with rhinoceroses. These are just some of the more well-known facts about famous artists. It’s no secret that many artists owe part, if not most, of their fame to their eccentric personal lives. Did their strange habits fuel their masterpieces? Who knows, but here are some art facts of the day:
5 Outrageous Facts About Famous Artists
1. Pablo Picasso believed in appropriation.
Appropriation is the idea that “powers” can be passed on from one person to the next by taking some of their clothing or any other personal item. Picasso was such a firm believer in this, that he lost his mind one day when his wife let their gardener borrow one of his sweaters. Picasso was convinced that the gardener was attempting to steal his artistic powers. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds.
2. Salvador Dalí had like…the weirdest childhood
Poor Dalí. He had the misfortune of growing up in his dead older brother’s shadow, who was obviously his parents’ favorite. So much so that they insisted on referring to him by his brother’s name and even dressed him in his old clothes. It ultimately gave Dalí quite a complex in his later years, making him the attention seeking eclectic that we know and love. He sought to desperately form his own identity—which he most definitely achieved—and he was able to give us the unique dreamscape masterpieces that he created.
3. Leonardo da Vinci was an animal lover
Da Vinci’s love for animals was absolute. For starters, he was a vegetarian, a trend almost entirely unheard of during his lifetime. He was animal rights activist and bought caged animals just so he could set them free. If you ask me, he should be the face of PETA.
4. Andy Warhol Created “Piss Paintings”
And it’s exactly what it sounds likes. His urine, and sometimes his friends’ urine, would oxidize the copper paint on the silkscreen. And honestly, they look pretty cool…if you can get past the whole “it’s pee on a canvas” type thing.
5. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime
It’s true about artists; many only become famous after death. Think about it. One of the greatest painters ever known wasn’t even famous during his lifetime. It’s actually thanks to his brother’s sister that he gained any recognition. After his suicide, she gathered all of his works and wrote a biography honoring him. She recognized his greatness and his memory was glorified.