The frenzied energy and dedication required to create works of fine art do not come without cost. Often, at the end of completing a masterpiece, the artist is left emotionally drained and exhausted. Sometimes the creative force that compels such art, takes the artist from us earlier than we would like. Below are 5 artists whose careers ended much too soon.
Though he remained poor and virtually unknown in life, Vincent van Gogh became one of the most famous Post-Impressionist painters and his work is considered to be among the most influential on 20th Century art. His paintings are ranked among the highest priced artwork in the world. Vincent van Gogh killed himself at the age of 37.
By the age of 17, Raphael was already considered a master painter. One of the most famous High Renaissance painters, he was commissioned to paint the Pope’s private apartments at the Vatican at the age of 25 and was later appointed as the same Pope’s Chief Architect. Like Vincent van Gogh, Raphael was also 37 at the time of his death in Rome.
Jackson Pollack is credited with the development of a radical abstract style that transformed the history of modern art. He enjoyed a great deal of commercial acclaim during his career, though he is probably best remembered for his “drip paintings” which had a dramatic effect on the course of American art. Jackson Pollack was killed in a car accident when he was 40 years old.
One of the founders of the Neo-Impressionist movement, Georges Seurat is best known for inventing Pointillism. His painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is among the most recognizable artworks in the Western World. He died at 31 of what is believed to be meningitis.
A popular graffiti artist in New York City, Keith Haring found mainstream success that allowed him to create his murals in large-scale around the world. He moved onto fashion and opened a shop called The Pop Shop. He died at the age of 32 from AIDS.
Artwork provides the artist with a unique opportunity to achieve a level of immortality that few of us will ever enjoy. Though the artists may have left us too soon, their masterpieces will live on in museums and popular culture for generations to come.