Think all artists are just pastel-toting sissies? Think again. The 10 artist’s below were known for breaking rules, taking names, and causing a stir. With their no-fear attitudes and inventive styles, these men and women definitely earn the title of badasses of art history.


Badasses of Art History


1. Naram-Sin

Although he didn’t actually make any artwork, this ancient Mesopotamian ruler commissioned a stele to emphasize his kuzbu, or “masculine allure” to challenge the gods, which I think is pretty badass.

10 Badasses of Art History


2. Albrecht Durer

To show off his talent and his rockin good-looks, Durer portrayed himself like Jesus in a self portrait, a ballsy move that did not go over well with the religious community.

10 Badasses of Art History


3. Umberto Boccioni

Boccioni was a major player in the Futurist movement, a development that praised technology, war, destruction of museums, and all things hard-core.

10 Badasses of Art History


4. Edourd Manet

While many of his contemporaries were still making tame still lives, Manet went wild n’ out by painting things like naked prostitutes, which is a pretty edgy move considering the French were trying to keep their rampant use of prostitutes under raps.

10 Badasses of Art History


5. Chaim Soutine

Soutine is most well known for his gory paintings of open animal carcasses. It is said that because he continually poured blood on the meat and painted it for extended periods of time, his neighbors would threaten to evict him. Thug.

10 Badasses of Art History


6. Marcel Duchamp

Anyone who puts a urinal in a museum and says the Mona Lisa has a “nice ass” definitely achieves swag status in my book. Duchamp also often dressed in drag under the name Rrose Selavy. ‘Nuf said.

10 Badasses of Art History


7. Francis Bacon

Although he was not classically trained in art, Bacon managed to create killer mind-bending portraits that questioned religious figures and reflected the atrocities of war.

10 Badasses of Art History


8. Judy Chicago

Chicago is known for her in-your-face installation pieces that deal with feminist issues in contemporary society. In her most famous work, “The Dinner Party,” she pays homage to great women throughout history by creating custom table settings complete with their own- erm, “flower” plates. You can find this work at the Brooklyn Museum.

10 Badasses of Art History


9. Chris Ofili

Badass transgressive artist Chris Ofili pushes boundaries and buttons by making works like “The Holy Virgin Mary” in which he depicted Mary surrounded by female gentiles and elephant feces.

10 Badasses of Art History


10. Barbra Kruger

With her signature red and white typeface, Kruger appropriates and repurposes images from mass media to make radical statements about consumerism, sexism, and just about any other ism that could piss you off.

10 Badasses of Art History


Which artist do you think is the most badass? Think you know an artist who can top these guys? Show me what you’ve got!

9 Responses

Share Your Thoughts With Us: