Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Famous Last Works of Monet, Kahlo,Rivera,Seurat, Raphael, Rembrandt, Bacon & O'Keeffe

Given the discipline of the most renown artists, usually their last painting also marks the end of their lives. However, in some cases, like Georgia O'Keeffe, it can mean that painting stops because of a physical failure. Most of the time, the artist is aware that their career or the life is ending and so these are some of their last works.

Claude Monet (1840-1926) was one of the most famous and beloved artists of his time. When he faced the failings of his eyesight and general health, he decided to paint his beloved water lillies one last time. (Above painting before his cataracts and after below)

In keeping with the times and the great influence of the Church on the choice of representations, Raphael's (1483-1520) last painting would be"The Transfiguration." (When Christ appears as a radiant being. )

For much of his life, Rembrandt von Rijn (1606-1669) chronicled his own life through self-portraits. In this painting, we can see him as an old man holding an infant. It is a classic scene of the old and the new as life brings changes in all things.

One artist who painted his experience of the end of his life was Francis Bacon (1561-1626). /Chronic Asthma was claiming him and this deeply breathing beast was his sign-off.

A touching story was Diego Rivera's (1886-1957) last painting. His great patroness, Dolores Olmedo, asked him to make a painting of watermelons. He didn't want to do it because the subject didn't interest him or maybe it had to do with Frida Kahlo's (1907-1954) painting of watermelons just 8 days before she died 3 years earlier. When Olmedo asked another painter, that's when Rivera stepped up. Alas, it would be his last painting,too. (Kahlo (l) Rivera (r)

As if to create a laugh at life's absurdities, George Seurat,(1859-1891) the famous pointilist, last painting is titled, "The Circus." (It wasn't complete at the time of his passing.)

Lastly, there's the aptly named Georgia O'Keefe's (1887-1986) painting, "The Beyond." It was the last painting she did unassisted as her eyesight faded from macular degeneration 

The world is an ever-changing place and these artists expressed this in the ways they knew best.

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