According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Mona Lisa has the highest insurance value for a painting in the history of art. Mona Lisa was insured in 1962 for $100 million giving the painting an approximate value of $750 million today.
Russian artist Wasilly Kandinsky (1866-1944) is ranked among the artists whose work changed the history of art in the early years of the 20th century. He was among those who created wholly abstract painting, and he was a fouder of The Blue Rider group of German Expressionists. His forms evolved from fluid and organic to geometric and, finally, to pictographic. Kandinsky truly was an innovator, although his later works do not possess the same charm and lusciousness as the earlier painting, featured here, which looks almost edible!
Italian painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) is one of the outstanding geniuses in the history of Western art. His work is typically characterized by the linear grace closely associated with the Italian Renaissance. When we think of this artist, paintings such as the “Birth of Venus” and “Primavera” often come to mind. However, he political and religious crisis of the 1490s clearly left its mark on Botticelli's late work. He created fewer monumental works and devoted himself principally to producing devotional pictures and small altars. His themes became almost exclusively religious. In his style there, was a decisive change to soberness and strictness. In his compositions, he increasingly dispensed with lively decorations, concentrating instead on an expressive structuring of the figures. The changes in Botticelli's style and subjects appear to coincide with political unrest, and a belief that the last days were at hand. In the late work by Botticelli featured here, the artist presents the founder of the Dominican order of monks in an iconographic manner that is rarely found: above the saint, whose hand is raised in a gesture of blessing, is a half-figure of Christ surrounded by angels heralding the Last Judgment. This work is much stricter than his earlier, more familiar paintings—but no less beautiful!
When Edouard Manet (1832-1883) began to paint genre (everyday) subjects, such as old beggars, street urchins, café characters, and Spanish bullfight scenes, he was challenging all of the standard of the Salon. Monet adopted a direct, bold brush technique in his treatment of realistic subject matter—which was bitterly attacked by his critics. In 1866, the French novelist Emile Zola, who championed the art of Manet in the newspaper Figaro, became a close friend of the painter. He was soon joined by the young group of French impressionist painters, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Cezanne, who were influenced by Manet's art and who, in turn, influenced him! Together, they all dramtically changed the direction of art. But it was definitely Manet who led the charge.