Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (Milan, 28 September 1571 – Porto Ercole, 18 July 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. He is commonly placed in the Baroque school, of which he is considered the first great representative.
"Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci. Indeed it was said that a true Renaissance man needed to have all these talents and also to have been a diplomat and that Michelangelo was the only person to have ever embodied these criteria.
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary baroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656).
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, born 15 July 1606 in Leiden, was the son of a miller, Harmen Gerritsz. van Rijn (1568-1630), and his wife Neeltgen van Zuytbrouck (1568-1640). The youngest son of at least ten children, Rembrandt was not expected to carry on his father's business. Since the family was prosperous enough, they sent him to the Leiden Latin School, where he remained for seven years. In 1620 he enrolled briefly at the University of Leiden, perhaps to study theology. Orlers (see person bibliography), Rembrandt's first biographer, however, related that because "by nature he was moved toward the art of painting and drawing," he left the University to study the fundamentals of painting with the Leiden artist Jacob Isaacsz. van Swanenburgh (1571-1638). After three years with this master, Rembrandt left for Amsterdam in 1624, where he studied for six months under Pieter Lastman (1583-1633), the most important history painter of the day.
Dutch painter. Among the great Dutch artists of the 17th century, he is now second in renown only to Rembrandt, but he made little mark during his lifetime and then long languished in obscurity. Almost all of the contemporary references to him are in colourless official documents and his career is in many ways enigmatic.
Jacques-Louis David (August 30, 1748 – December 29, 1825) was a highly influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the prominent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward a classical austerity and severity, chiming with the moral climate of the final years of the ancien régime.