Artists who died young

The fatal role of the number 37 is usually discussed in relation to poets and writers. Among the famous artists there are also many who died at this age or did not live to see it. Who knows what heights they would have reached if they had more time on earth?

Artists who died young Masaccio. St. Peter heals the sick with his shadow
Masaccio. St. Peter heals the sick with his shadow.

Tommaso Masaccio (1401-1428). Artists who died young

Masaccio is called an innovator of the early Renaissance, one of the first to use the laws of linear perspective. The master had a huge influence on the development of European painting – and yet he was 27 at the time of his sudden death. The cause of death is unknown; the art historian Vasari put forward a version of Masaccio’s poisoning, but it was not confirmed.

The School of Athens (after Raphael)
The School of Athens (after Raphael).

Raphael (1483-1520)

The Renaissance genius Raphael Santi was considered a master of painting already at the age of 17. Fate gave him a short life – he died of fever on his 37th birthday. At the suggestion of the same Vasari, the topic of a young man’s excessive passion for “love affairs” and the unseemly role in this of the model Margherita Luti, whose features Raphael immortalized in the image of the “Sistine Madonna,” often comes up in biographical studies.

Artists who died young Giorgione. Moses' Trial by Fire, 1502-1505
Moses’ Trial by Fire, 1502-1505,  Giorgione.

Giorgione (1478—1510)

The mysterious master of the High Renaissance, Giorgione, about whom little is known reliably – neither the year of birth, nor the month of death, nor the number of paintings he painted. Only the scale of talent is beyond doubt. The painter of the Venetian school lived 31 or 32 years, dying of the plague.

Horse (Eastern), Theodore Gericault
Horse (Eastern), Theodore Gericault.

Theodore Gericault (1791-1824)

Géricault became famous for his battle and dramatic plots, although his creative life spanned one decade. At the age of 21, he received a gold medal at the Paris Salon for his debut work, “An Officer.” The next success was associated with the famous painting “The Raft of Medusa,” but working on it led to a nervous breakdown. A fall from a horse while riding aggravated his ill health, and at 32, Gericault passed away.

Artists who died young Toulouse-Lautrec from Henri Vincent van Gogh Sun
Toulouse-Lautrec from Henri Vincent van Gogh Sun.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

The story of Van Gogh is tragic: the artist, whose works are now offered at auction for tens of millions of dollars, sold only one painting in his short life. The painter left behind notes and letters. The contents of the correspondence provide insight into the emotional struggle that ultimately led to suicide at age 37.

Artists who died young Portrait of a girl
Portrait of a girl, Amedeo Modigliani. Artists who died young.
Amedeo Modigliani (1884−1920)

The Italian portrait painter and sculptor Modigliani missed his own fame by one day: paintings that were not in demand during his lifetime began to be bought up during the funeral. Death occurred at the age of 35 due to pulmonary tuberculosis, which he suffered from in his youth, but did not deny himself alcohol and drugs.

A day after Modigliani’s death, his common-law wife and muse Jeanne Héburtin, who was carrying her second child, jumped out of the window. Decades later, her portrait, painted by her poverty-stricken lover, was sold for $42.5 million.

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