Artists Behaving Badly

Temperamental masters of the art world

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Raphael also had an eye for the ladies. His most famous mistress, known as La Fornarina, which means "the baker's daughter" in Italian, was used as a model for many of the artist's paintings. Snubbing his nose at the social conventions of the time, Raphael even titled one of the paintings, La Fornarina. On another occasion, he had a mistress take up permanent residence in his art studio because he couldn't concentrate on his work without her nearby.

Paul Gauguin

The French painter who is renowned for introducing "primitive" symbols and imagery in his work, Paul Gauguin made these changes after fleeing the constraints of urban city life—he referred to Paris as a "rotten Babylon"—for exile in numerous exotic locales.

In 1887, he fled to Martinique to, in his own words, "live like a savage." There, he lived in a hut, likely had affairs with numerous native women and definitely contracted dysentery and marsh fever.

In 1891, Gauguin traveled to Tahiti. He immersed himself in the life of the local, indigenous population, which included marrying a young Polynesian girl who was just thirteen years old. She became pregnant two months after their marriage.

By 1901, Gauguin had moved to an even more remote residence on the island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. He purchased land and built what he called, "the house of pleasure." This is where he spent his last days. He died in 1903 of an advanced case of syphilis.

Éduoard Manet

Éduoard Manet, a leading Impressionist painter, was plagued by a love triangle that spanned family ties. He married his father's mistress to preserve the family honor, and contracted syphilis soon after—probably from his father through their mutual partner. It is also rumored that the boy whom Manet claimed as his son was, in fact, his half-brother.

Edvard Munch


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