1. Caravaggio – a bit of a swaggering brawler by all accounts, but also a master of chiaroscuro.
Not only was he reputed to have killed a man but he himself also died under mysterious circumstances. A big influence in later years on Rembrandt and the like.
2. Carl André – famous for selling a collection of fire bricks to the Tate Gallery, he was tried and acquitted of his wife Ana Mendieta’s death in 1979. He is still living today, some say that examples of his work would be better served at the local builder’s merchants.
Lewd sexual acts
3. Cellini – Banished from Florence aged 16 for taking part in a fracas with others, he was later imprisoned for allegedly stealing jewels from the Pope. Accused of a variety of ‘lewd’ sexual acts he spent 4 year under house arrest. His passing in 1571 was celebrated with a splendid funeral.
4. Daniel Ballantyne – Here I am researching my new blog on Google when up popped Daniel Ballantyne. After 10 minutes considerable research I rejected my initial idea that this was the famous gym owner, but didn’t twig until well into my first para that Daniel Ballantyne was a figment of the imagination of playwright, Philip Palmer – a forgery himself! (Daniel not Philip). So it looks like I can’t include him in my list! Unless of course I fake it …
Condoms, knickers and empty cigarette packets
5. Tracey Emin – not so much a bad boy more an angst girl personified. Raised in Margate (home of Dreamland so she can’t be all bad) she is well-known for her exhibit, ‘My bed’ – presented with used condoms, knickers, empty cigarette packets, sound familiar? She is now a Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy.
6. Egon Schiele – a student of Gustav Klimt, who when arrested had over 100 drawings seized for being pornographic.
He died during a Spanish ‘flu epidemic spending his last hours sketching his wife who had died 3 days before him.
7. Gauguin – in an attempt to throw of the trappings of a conventional life Gauguin set sail for Tahiti. Returning to France 2 years later he started an affair with a teenaged girl and dressed in Polynesian clothing. Disillusioned with Paris society he returned again to Tahiti, where he experienced a period of great productivity. However ill health and pain dogged him until he died 8 years later possibly from a morphine overdose.
8. Damien Hurst – famous for preserving dead things he was later challenged in court for plagiarism. When I was at Eastbourne Art College I went to the butchers and made an eyeball sandwich, am I too late of does that still count?
9. Andy Warhol – an exponent of pop art, Warhol was famous for turning iconic American objects into art. His studio, the Factory, was renowned for its parties and filled to the brim with hip, bohemian artists of the time. Looking at today’s fame obsessed society, his statement that ‘in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,’ seems to have come true.
Chasing the nurses
10. Vincent Van Gogh – the son of a minister, Van Gogh once worked as a supply teacher in Ramsgate. His personal life was fraught with emotional turmoil, Margo Begemann, who he had intended to marry tried to kill herself with strychnine when both their families disapproved.
Troubled by psychosis, he cut off his ear leaving it as a memento for Gauguin. When committed to an asylum Gauguin wrote, ‘he wants to sleep with the patients, chase the nurses and wash himself in the coal bucket’. The 113 year old Jeanne Calment, who met him when she was 13, described him as , ‘dirty, badly dressed … very ugly, ungracious, impolite, sick.’ What’s not to like?