10 Old Artists Who Were Actually Wildly Successful in Their Lifetime

They weren’t all starving
10 Old Artists Who Were Actually Wildly Successful in Their Lifetime

The “starving artist” trope, at this point, informs most peoples default idea of an artist — especially most visual artists, outside of the ones that got paid in Facebook stock. It feels like if you ask someone to visualize a historical painter, theyre automatically going to plop them in a leaky studio that reeks of pig shit, gnawing on one big bean for dinner. Its also led along by artists like Vincent van Gogh, who famously died in poverty, with one less ear than is ideal. So much so that I think some people assume even world-famous artists from the past all went unrecognized, which very much wasnt the case.

Lets crack open the coffers of some filthy rich artists of the past…


Public Domain

Yeah, those chapel ceilings dont come cheap. Michelangelo wasnt only well-compensated, but its thought he was one of the richest artists in history. Through commissions like the Sistine Chapel, he put together a fortune worth over $67 million in today's money.

Peter Paul Rubens


Peter Paul Rubens was born rich, so even if his art sucked, he would have lived a life of luxury. Luckily enough, he had the knack, and was awash with expensive commissions, more than he ever could have actually finished. He died as the proud owner of both a mansion and country estate.


Public Domain

Rembrandts finances might be confusing given that when he died, he was indeed in dire financial straits. That was due to his own wild spending, though, and it was far from how he spent much of his life. He did at one point live surrounded by luxury, even if he eventually had to auction most of it off.

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