I discovered - and rediscovered- most of these artists in my Intro to Western Art History class. They're arranged chronologically for context and organizational satisfaction ;)
  1. Albrecht Dürer (b. 1471)
    Listen y'all, his attention to detail and his control of line is impeccable!! I love him!!! Also I read a book as a child about a cricket that had to create forgeries of his woodcut prints in order to protect the originals and it made me love him more!!!
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  5. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (b. 1475)
    "A love of Michelangelo is very stereotypical, Abigail," you might say. "Yes, dear reader," I might respond, "but look at his handling of stone! Look at his superb idealization of the human form! Look at his wonderfully self-absorbed personality! What a man!"
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  9. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (b. 1483)
    "Abigail, Raphael is ANOTHER cliché Renaissance artist to be in love with." Maybe so, Reader. But his rivalry with Michelangelo is hilarious to me. Also his soft handling of the human form makes me happy. Sue me.
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    ps idk which man is Raphael and which is his friend but the guy on the right bears a freakish resemblance to Oscar Isaac
  12. Artemisia Gentileschi (b. 1593)
    Okay look this woman was one of the first female artists to make a career out of her art!! She studied Caravaggio and developed a baroque style, depicting strong women from the Bible and mythology!! And she didn't let being raped (or being tortured during the trial to validate her testimony) stop her!!
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  15. Gian Lorenzo Bernini (b. 1598)
    This guy is so OP because he is as incredible with stone as Michelangelo and yet he works narratives into an overwhelmingly static medium!! Yes I paraphrased that from my professor!! But that doesn't make it any less impressive!!!!
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    I mean lOOOK AT THIS. THIS HARDLY LOOKS LIKE STONE. I'M NOT CRYING YOU'RE CRYING.
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    And this sculpture is so cool because it's the myth of Apollo and Daphne and as you travel clockwise around you literally seE DAPHNE TURNING INTO A TREE AND IT'S MY FAVORITE. THING. EVER.
  19. Johannes Vermeer (b. 1632)
    I mean, he's kind of worth the hype: Master of Light and all that. He subtly uses perspective in a way that leads your eyes to the figures in his paintings, placing them at the focal points of his compositions. I also have an undying loyalty to him because of Blue Balliet's novel Chasing Vermeer, a book worth reading no matter your age.
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  24. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (b. 1780)
    Listen, I didn't even know this man existed until I took my Intro to Western Art History class. And frankly I don't know how that's possible because his TEXTURES are AMAZING. His portraits are so sOFT. Yet he's also known for championing Neo-Classicism and the use of line. Like, form AND line. Usually I have to sacrifice one for the other. He gets to use both. Unbelievable.
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    His sketches are actually known for being mORE lively than his final portraits and they're all super lovely. I also feel like, aside from Leonardo, works-in-progress aren't really shown, so these are doubly cool.
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  28. Gustave Courbet (b. 1819)
    I don't have much to say about him except that he rejected what everyone else was doing (good) and invented a new artistic movement (Good) and painted super atypical subjects (GoOD) and also all his self portraits are hot so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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    (These aren't really examples of his Realism, nor his atypical subject matter, but rather my favorite of his self portraits. You're welcome.)
  33. George Hawley Hallowell (b. 1871)
    Okay so I actually didn't learn about George in my Western Art History Class, but I accidentally discovered him in another class. I had to pick a painting in the MFA and do several art studies on it and research the artist. Turns out he's nearly non-existent online, but I was saved by a singular, 20-page book in my school library. He was hailed by John Singer Sargent as an amazing painter and was one of the first artists to use aerial photography in his work, yet nO ONE TALKS ABOUT HIM AHSHDJFLG
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    So this is the painting I chose, St. Michael Slaying the Dragon. It's super different from his other work, which is mostly landscapes and scenes from New England's lumber industry. But that's partially because it was commissioned by the city of Boston post-WWI as a triumphant celebration Good-Inevitably-Conquers-Evil type deal. It's almost ten feet tall and is super super cool irl