I searched out this book for a school project for my son. I was keen to read it after finding and loving 13 Buildings Children Should Know. And I knew that I needed to read it when I could only name 2 of 3 artists featured on the cover. Try it. The top two are easy. The third stumped me. The style looked a bit familiar, but not the actual image.
Leonardo da Vinci
Vincent van Gogh
Of these, I was pleased to have heard of all but three of them. Rousseau, Klee and Marc have escaped my notice til now. Eight of the 13 I could probably recall some of their major works and/or recognise their style! da Vinci, Vermeer (thank goodness there was that book about The Girl with the Pearl Earring a few years ago, otherwise this might have been different), Monet (one of my favourite artists, I made a pilgrimage to his garden at Giverney in 1998), van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Kahlo and Warhol.
Two women out of 13. Not bad perhaps. Kahlo has a recognisable style. Although it is a style I don't particularly like. I don't find redoing the same painting of your own monobrow all that inspiring or artistic I guess.
Some things I didn't know before I read this book.
There is a colour called Vermeer Blue.
I quite like Franz Marc's work, although am a bit disturbed by it. Franz Marc became famous for pictures of blue horses, yellow cows and red cats. He liked animals more than people, though that they were cleverer than we are as they don't try to be better than nature or destroy it.
The Saltimbanques were street artists, clowns, harlequins and actors who went from town to town with their show. Picasso did a painting of them. I imagine this was the inspiration for Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco.
Picasso invented Cubism.
Marc Chagall sounds French, but was born in Belarus.
Frida Kahlo contracted polio in childhood. She took up painting at 18 when recuperating from a motor vehicle accident that broke her back.
Andy Warhol bought a hairpiece at 25.
The cover artists are of course, Vermeer, van Gogh, and Rousseau.