A New Way to Look into These World Known Artists

Bill Gates paid $30.8 million for his books? Francisco Goya’s skull was missing after being buried? How many of these facts about the world known artist that you didn't know?

Art history is full of wild tales and fascinating figures. Some of these stories live on because they remind us of the qualities we associate with artists. That is, they are creative, independent, and might be a little eccentric. But in many cases, their stories are just as incredible as the famous art they create.  

Here, we summarise 5 amazing and mostly unknown facts about the famous artists in the world.

1. Bill Gates paid $30.8 million for his books?

Leonardo da Vinci was a notoriously slow painter as he was easily distracted. Two of his most famous art took a combined 17 years to finish. He spent 3 years for “The Last Supper”, and a whopping 14 years to complete the “Mona Lisa”. In fact, he finally finished “The Last Supper” when his patron threatened to cut off his fund. 

“Bill Gates paid $30.8 million for his book 26 years ago and made it the most expensive book ever. Did you know who the author is?”

However, many do not know that he left a huge amount of notes and sketches behind following his death in 1519. In 1994,  Bill Gates paid a big amount of money to collect all of his sketches. The project is called the Codescope. It is an interactive kiosk with a touch screen that allows people to explore Codex Leicester. The 72-page document contains Leonardo’s sketches and ideas about subjects like astronomy, mechanics, botany, mathematics and architecture. It was written between 1506 and 1510.

Famous Art | Gates Note | Artroom 22

2. Pablo Picasso was a theft?

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was missing on 21st August 1911 from the Louvre Museum in Paris. Eight days later, a man called Joseph Géry Pieret revealed to the Paris-Journal that Picasso and his friend, Apollinaire, had the Iberian sculptures that stole from the Louvre Museum. Therefore, this made Picasso one of the top suspects of Leonardo’s lost painting. Nonetheless, his suspicions were proved to be unsubstantiated and unfounded. Finally, the truth came out in December 1913 that it was Louvre Museum’s employee, Vincenzo Peruggia who stole the painting.

famous art | Pablo Picasso | Artroom 22
“There are many characters during his prolific career — painter, sculptor, playwright — but there’s one occupation that historians leave off that list: arraigned art thief.”

3. Salvador Dali was the name of his dead brother?

Moving forward, Salvador Dali who is well-known for his famous art, fashion sense and trademark moustache believes that he is the reincarnation of his dead brother. 9 months before Dali was born, his mother had another child which was called Salvador Dali. Unfortunately, Dali’s older brother died of a stomach infection at 22 months old. As a result, Salvador’s parents had named him after his dead brother in a bid to fill the void his death had caused.

Therefore, Dali went to his brother’s grave at 5 years old and his parents informed him of their belief that he was a reincarnation of his dead brother. This incident has caused a huge psychological effect on him and in turn cultivated his eccentric behaviour.

Dali’s bizarre subconscious imagery holds an irresistible fascination for many modern artists, including JS Mohan. See how this artist even dreamt about Dali when he was sleeping.

Dali confessed that each day, he struggled to kill the image of his dead brother. He constantly sought to prove he was different than his dead brother. It only relieved him a little until he decided to paint the “Portrait of My Dead Brother”.

Famous art | Portrait of my Dead Brother Salvador Dali | Artroom 22
“Portrait of My Dead Brother” (1963) by Salvador Dali

In this painting, Dali brings out a somewhat unusual. A face emerges from a spray of light and dark cherries falling from heaven. Dali explained that he used dark cherries to create the countenance of his dead brother and the sun-lighted cherries to depict an image of living Salvador. Many scholars believe that the portrait was the mature version of Dali’s brother. As such, the face not only depicted his dead brother but was a composite of both brothers signified by the use of dark and light cherries in this famous art. It was also interpreted that the soldiers holding spears at the bottom of the painting are helping Dali scatter the visage of the former Salvador.

4. Vincent van Gogh never learnt art before? 

Next, Vincent van Gogh is an influential artist that continues to inspire millions of artists around the world. In his last letter to his brother, he wrote that “I try to do as well as certain painters whom I have greatly loved and admired”. Whereas, little did we  know that he struggled in obscurity during his brief life.

He was born in a religious and upper-middle-class family in 1853. He only started to pick up the brushes and began his artistic journey after various unfulfilling occupations. In fact, Van Gogh only started to paint at the age of 27 with almost no formal education in art. It is never too late to learn something new.

During his whole lifetime, he only sold one painting which is The Red Vineyard to his friend for about 400 francs (around 436USD). But he never gave up on painting. Conversely, he created almost 900 artworks in 10 years as he died at the age of 37. Also, no one would have thought that one of Van Gogh’s famous art the dreamy “The Starry Night” was actually painted in an asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France.

Famous art | Van Gogh The Starry Night | Artroom 22
“The Starry Night” (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

This article helps you to understand the art movement Impressionism in 5 minutes.

5. Francisco Goya’s skull was missing after being buried?

Last but not least, the Spanish painter Francisco Goya’s path into a prestigious art academy was also an interesting journey. He submitted entries to enrol at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid both in 1763 and 1766. Unfortunately, he was rejected for both enrolments. Hence, he chose to study under Anton Raphael Mengs, who was a popular painter in royal circles. But they did not get along with each other.

Being that, Goya later befriended and studied with artist Francisco Bayeu, who had a membership at the Royal Academy. He married Bayeu’s sister, Josefa in 1773. Finally, with all these helpful connections, Goya successfully got his admission to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1780.

Support living artists by decorating your home with these amazing artworks.

During his later stage of life, he suffered from a stroke which left him paralysed on his right side. His failing eyesight also led to poor access to painting materials. He died and was buried at the age of 82 in 1828. His body was later re-interred in Madrid. Famously, the skull was missing, a detail the Spanish consul immediately communicated to his superiors in Madrid, who wired back, “Send Goya, with or without head.”

Famous art | Portrait of Francisco Goya | Artroom 22
“Portrait of Francisco de Goya” (1826) by Vicent López Portaña

Who is your favourite artist and which are the arts or story behinds that move you? Do share your thoughts with us in the comment box below. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to learn more knowledge about the art world! 

If you enjoy reading this article, then you might love these “Top 10 World Famous Paintings”.



Featured Rating
  • Interesting


I knew the van gogh story.. but the dali one was a PUFF to my mind!

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