20 most famous Italian artists and painters across the ages

20 most famous Italian artists and painters across the ages

Italy is a country with a rich cultural history spanning centuries. The country has continued to inspire creativity and innovation as far as art is concerned. The Mediterranean nation has produced some of the greatest artists in the world. These are the most famous Italian artists and painters.

Most famous Italian artists
Renowned Italian artists Andrea Mantegna, Tiziano Vecelli, and Giotto di Bondone. Photo: @michelepeli, @hobbitontherun, @museoprado on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Art is one of the most lucrative professions in the world. Italian artists are known for making paintings worth millions. Their work has been displayed in museums and auctioned to the rich and famous. From Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo to Caravaggio, here is a list of the most famous Italian painters across different generations.

20 famous Italian artists and painters

Any mention of great art and paintings leads the mind to Italy. Italy has produced some of the greatest artists and painters for centuries. Below is a list of the famous artists from Italy and some of their notable works.

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1. Leonardo da Vinci (1452—1519)

Italian artists female
The statue of Leonardo Da Vinci in a clear blue sky in Italy. Photo: pexels.com, @farfalina
Source: UGC

Leonardo da Vinci is one of the greatest painters of all time. Besides being a painter, he was also a polymath, a scientist, a sculptor and an engineer in the Early Renaissance period. Leonardo's priciest items include the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper paintings.

2. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475—1564)

Italian painters
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 Ð 18 February 1564) Photo: History/Universal Images Group
Source: Getty Images

Michelangelo is among the greatest names in the art world. He worked in the Renaissance era, and Pope Julius II commissioned him to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The painter was known for being realistic and emotional in his work. Michelangelo's famous works include Pieta, David's sculpture, and The Last Judgment.

3. Sandro Botticelli (1445—1510)

Famous Italian painters
Circa 1500, Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli (1445 - 1510). Photo: Hulton Archive
Source: Getty Images

Sandro Botticelli was a renowned Italian painter who worked in the Early Renaissance period. He was an apprentice to Fra Filippo Lippi, who painted the Madonna paintings. While other artists in his era moved to the High Renaissance, Botticelli adopted the Medieval Gothic style.

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Sandro Botticelli's paintings are known for their grace, beauty and elegance. His famous works include The Birth of Venus, The Adoration of the Magi and The Primavera.

4. Andrea Mantegna (1431—1506)

Famous Italian painters
Portrait of Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), Italian painter and engraver, engraving by Geoffroy. Photo: Icas94 / De Agostini Picture Library
Source: Getty Images

Andrea Mantegna was a famous Italian painter in the 15th century. He is renowned for his mastery of perspective and detail in his work. Mantegna learnt painting from Francesco Squarcione in Padua at age 11. His most notable works include the Camera Picta, The Virgin Mary, and Christ in the Temple.

5. Tiziano Vecelli (1488—1576)

Italian artists female
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio known in English as Titian, an Italian painter. Photo: Bildagentur-online
Source: Getty Images

Tiziano Vecelli, famously known as Titian, was an Italian painter in the Renaissance period. He is one of the most important members of the Venetian school of the 16th century. Titian was an apprentice to Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione. Venus of Urbino, Assumption, and The Flaying of Marsyas are among his famous works.

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6. Giotto di Bondone (1266—1337)

Italian artists today
Male portrait of Giotto di Bondone, detail from Five Masters of the Florentine Renaissance, early 16th century, by an anonymous artist from the Florentine School. Photo: DeAgostini
Source: Getty Images

Giotto di Bondone was an Italian artist from Florence who worked during the Late Middle Ages. He was among the most important painters of the 14th century, and his works influenced the innovations of the Renaissance style. Giotto di Bondone masterpieces include The Scrovegni Chapel frescoes, the Ognissanti Madonna and the Bardi and Peruzzi Chapel frescoes.

7. Tintoretto (1518—1594)

Italian painters
Circa 1580, The Venetian painter Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti, 1518 - 1594). Photo: Hulton Archive
Source: Getty Images

Tintoretto, also known as Jacopo Comin, was also among the most famous Italian Renaissance painters. He was an apprentice to the Venetian painters Michelangelo, Giovanni Bellini, and Jacopo Palma il Vecchio.

Tintoretto's work involved dramatic compositions, light and shadow, and intense emotionalism. His most valuable art is the Last Supper.

8. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483—1520)

Famous Italian artists
Self-portrait by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. Photo: Bildagentur-online
Source: Getty Images

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino was a talented Italian painter of the High Renaissance. He was influenced by the great Leonardo da Vinci, as seen in his artworks' intense contrast between light and dark. Pope Julius II appointed Raffael as his chief architect, and one of his famous artworks was the Sistine Madonna.

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9. Giorgione Barbarelli da Castelfranco (1477—1510)

Famous Italian painters
Portrait of painter Giorgione. Photo: Sepia Time
Source: Getty Images

Giorgione was an artist in the High Renaissance, influenced by Giovanni Bellini, the great Venice painter. His most famous piece of art is The Tempest, found in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice, Italy. His other works include Sleeping Venus and Adoration of the Shepherds.

10. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio from Venice. (1477—1510)

Famous artists from Italy
Portrait in Chalk of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), Ottavio Leoni, c. 1621. Photo: Pictures from History/Universal Images Group
Source: Getty Images

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, famously known as Caravaggio, was an Italian artist who worked in Rome. He is known for introducing the Baroque style and his dramatic use of lighting. Caravaggio's famous works include The Calling of St. Matthew, Judith Beheading Holofernes and The Entombment of Christ.

11. Amedeo Modigliani (1884—1920)

Most famous Italian artists
Portrait of Italian artist Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920), Italian artist. Photo: Jewish Chronicle
Source: Getty Images

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was an Italian painter and sculptor based in France. He is famous for portraits with surreal elongated faces, necks and figures. These artworks were received poorly but were later among the most sought-after pieces. Amedeo Modigliani's paintings include The Jewess and Portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne.

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12. Giovanni Bellini (1430—1516)

Italian artists today
Giovanni Bellini, an Italian Renaissance painter, is the best-known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. Photo: Bildagentur
Source: Getty Images

Giovanni Bellini is an Italian artist born from a family of painters. He is among the painters who revolutionised Venetian painting in the High Renaissance. Bellini created his school of artwork, and his influence was seen in the works of Titian. His works revolved around religion, including The San Zaccaria Altarpiece, The Feast of the Gods and The Agony in the Garden.

13. Masaccio (1401—1428)

Italian painters
Circa 1425, Tomasso Masaccio (1401-c.1428), a Florentine painter of the early Renaissance, was one of the first Italian artists to use oil paint with tempera. Photo: Archive Photos
Source: Getty Images

Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, famously known as Masaccio, was an artist of the Early Renaissance period. He was known for his imitating nature and recreating figures in three dimensions. Some of Masaccio's most renowned paintings include The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, The Tribute Money and The Holy Trinity.

14. Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526—1593)

Famous Italian artists
Self-Portrait (L'uomo di Lettere) of artist Arcimboldo Giuseppe in 1587. Photo: Fine Art Images
Source: Getty Images

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was a renowned Italian artist of the 16th century famous for his avant-garde style. He is credited for his imaginative portrait heads made of elements such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, books and fish. Arcimboldo's eccentric and innovative works include The Librarian, Vertumnus, and Flora.

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15. Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (1386—1466)

Famous Italian painters
Circa 1450, The Florentine sculptor Donatello, (c1386 - 1466), real name Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi. Original Artwork: Engraving by Giovanni Battista Cecchi, after Vasari. Photo: Rischgitz
Source: Getty Images

Donatello was one of the famous artists from Italy and a forerunner of the Italian Renaissance artists. The Italian sculptor studied classical sculpture and used marble, bronze, stone, wood, clay, and glass in his work. His most notable work is the bronze David sculpture.

16. Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598—1680)

Famous artists from Italy
'Self-portrait', 17th century. Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was an Italian artist, sculptor and architect who worked mainly in Rome. Photo: Fine Art Images
Source: Getty Images

Bernini Lorenzo is one of the greatest Italian artists and architects of the Renaissance era. The famous artist is credited for creating the Baroque style, which influenced European art. Bernini's work was influenced by iconic artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

17. Annibale Carracci (1560—1609)

Most famous Italian artists
Self-portrait, 1593. Found in the collection of Galleria Nazionale, Parma. Artist : Carracci, Annibale (1560-1609). Photo: Fine Art Images
Source: Getty Images

Annibale Carracci was a renowned Italian artist famous for his avant-garde style. The style primarily of mythological and religious themes fused the classical tradition with fresh realism and naturalism. Carracci's most famous pieces include The Flight into Egypt, The Loves of the Gods and The Assumption of the Virgin.

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18. Sofonisba Anguissola (1532—1625)

Italian artists today
Sofonisba Anguissola's self-portrait, 1554. Found in the collection of the Art History Museum, Vienne. Photo: Fine Art Images
Source: Getty Images

Sofonisba Anguissola was one of the famous female Italian artists from the Renaissance period. Her skills captured the attention of Michelangelo, who mentored her. Michelangelo's influence can be seen in many of her works, including The Chess Game and The Duke of Alba. Anguissola inspired women to pursue painting seriously.

19. Andrea del Verrocchio (1435—1488)

Italian artists female
Circa 1465, The Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio, (c1435 - c1488), the master of Leonardo da Vinci. Photo by Hulton Archive
Source: Getty Images

Andrea del Verrocchio was a Florentine sculptor, painter and goldsmith from the fifteenth century. He studied under Donatello and taught great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci. Verrocchio drew inspiration from other Florentine painters, such as Andrea del Castagno and Antonio del Pollaiuolo. One of his best works is The Baptism of Christ, which showcases attention to detail.

20. Michelangelo Pistoletto (1933—Present)

Italian artists today
Italian painter, sculptor and artist Michelangelo Pistoletto speaks during FIGC 'Arte e Calcio: contaminiaAMOci' Event on 12 June 2023, in Florence, Italy. Photo: Claudio Villa
Source: Getty Images

Michelangelo Pistoletto is one of the renowned Italian artists today. He is a painter, art theorist, and action and object artist associated with the Italian Arte Povera. Pistoletto's work involves the marriage of art and everyday life.

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Italian painters and artists have contributed immensely to the world's cultural history. Their work has been preserved in museums around the globe, attracting millions of viewers yearly. This article lists some of the most famous Italian artists from the Renaissance and beyond.

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