I am a reader.  I read every day. In fact, I begin every morning with reading. So I decided to start jotting things down whenever I found interesting, little known facts about well known artists.

LEONARDO DA VINCI’s father was a lawyer and he never married his mother.  While he lived much of his childhood with his father, he had four step-mothers over the years.  He was left-handed, But he was also a vegetarian, often buying birds in the market to set them free.

When a 23 year old Michelangelo delivered the Pieta, he overheard someone say they didn’t believe he (Michelangelo) had done the piece, he was much too young. Enraged, he left and returned with a chisel and carved out his name – making it the only statue he ever signed apparently. He once got back at a critic by painting him into a painting being smothered by a snake.

REMBRANDT left school at 13 to study art and had his own studio by age 17.  In the famous painting The Night Watch, the models paid him to be in the painting. In fact, the people that paid the most were put in the front.

The Night Watch

The Night Watch

MATISSE began every day by playing the violin for two hours.  His wife Amelie supported him by opening a hat shop. She also raised a daughter of his by a previous girlfriend.

I think knowing a few little odd facts about artist’s make them more interesting and more human.  What do you think?



  1. Ruth Packard

    Finding out those little known facts about artist, musicians…anyone in history…gives breath to them. I tend to identify with them more. One of my favorite collections is little known facts about our country’s Presidents. And I love to search for any detail about my ancestors…no matter how small.

    I am still amazed, Vickie, with the number of books you read every week!

  2. Deborah Weber

    I find these little facts fascinating. I love glimpses into artists lives, both past and present. And I laughed at Rembrandt’s model positioning. Likely it was a common practice then, but it sounds like a wonderful precursor to Kickstart funding to me.

  3. Vickie Martin

    Little known facts about Presidents would be fun too! I just love finding these strange stories about artists – and I love the “kickstart” analogy – thanks for stopping by!

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