1. Édouard Manet (1832–1883)
Though Manet is generally considered one of the leading figures of Impressionism, his work was distinct from other artists in the movement. Initally influenced by Old Masters such as Velaquez, Hals and Goya, he broke with tradition by introducing elements of modern life into his scenes. (As in his Luncheon on the Grass, in which a classical nude model joins a pair of ordinary-looking, clothed men on a picnic.) It was only in his later work that he adopted the loose brushwork and subject matter we think of as Impressionist. Born into an affluent Parisian family, Manet rejected a law career to pursue painting. In the 1870s, he contracted syphilis, which led to numerous health complications—including a gangrenous foot which had to be amputated in April, 1883, precipitating his death soon after.