Appalachian Mural Trail

Famous Murals & Artists

    Some of the most loved artwork in our human history has been mural art. Lonardo da Vinci’s "The Last Supper" is a beautiful example. Michelangelo’s grand fresco painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is a breath taking example of remarkable murals. "The Last Judgment" painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel took Michelangelo four years to paint, 1536-1541. As one of the projects in the New Deal during the Great Depression in the United States, the Public Works of Art Project (1933-34) was developed to bring artist workers back into the job market and assure the American public that better financial times were on the way. In 1933, nearly $145 million in public funds was appropriated for the construction of federal buildings, such as courthouses, schools, libraries, post offices and other public structures, nationwide. Under the direction of the Public Works Art Project, the agency oversaw the production of 15,660 works of art by 3,750 artists. These included 700 murals on public display.

    With the ending of the Public Works of Art Project in the summer of 1934, it was decided that the success of the program should be extended by founding the Section of Painting and Sculpture (renamed the Section of Fine Arts in 1938) under the U.S. Treasury Department. The Section of Painting and Sculpture was initiated to commission 1,400 murals in federal post offices buildings in more than 1,300 cities across America. Today some of the murals are worth more than the post office buildings they are located in.

    The Mexican mural movement in the 1930s brought a new prominence to murals as a social and political tool. Diego Rivera, José Orozco and David Siqueiros were the most famous artists of the movement. Between 1932 and 1940, Rivera also painted murals in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. Edsel Ford commissioned murals by Diego Rivera for DIA in 1932. Composed in fresco style, the five sets of massive murals are known collectively as Detroit Industry, or Man and Machine. The murals were added to a large central courtyard; it was roofed over when the work was executed. The Diego Rivera murals are widely regarded as great works of art and a unique feature of the museum. The murals now are celebrated as one of the DIA's finest assets, and even "one of America's most significant monuments."

    In today’s world intercity murals dot the cityscape while in the rural communities murals are a way to celebrate the history and achievements of an area. Many rural towns have begun using murals to create tourist attractions in order to boost economic income. Colquitt, Georgia is one such town. Colquitt was chosen to host the 2010 Global Mural Conference. Other small towns, like West Jefferson, North Carolina, have as many as 17 murals in downtown.

Famous World Mural Artists of History

Edwin Abbey
Carlos Almaraz
Dorothy Annan
Judy Baca
Arnold Belkin
Thomas Hart Benton
John T. Biggers
Torsten Billman
Henry Bird
Edwin Howland Blashfield
Blek le Rat
Steve Bogdanoff
Giotto di Bondone
Gabriel Bracho
Paul Cadmus
Eleanor Coen
Dean Cornwell
Kenyon Cox
John Steuart Curry
Robert Dafford
Dora De Larios
Michelle Loughery
Santiago Martinez Delgado
Shepard Fairey
Piero della Francesca
Os Gemeos
Louis Grell
Satish Gujral
Manav Gupta
Richard Haas
Keith Haring
Albert Henry Krehbiel
Susan Krieg
Rainer Maria Latzke
Tom Lea
Michelle Loughery
Will Hicok Low
Sofia Maldonado
John Anton Mallin
Andrea Mantegna
Reginald Marsh
Knox Martin
Peter Max
Mario Miranda
Claude Monet
Roberto Montenegro
Frank Nuderscher
Violet Oakley
Edward O'Brien
Juan O'Gorman
Pablo O'Higgins
José Clemente Orozco
Rufus Porter
Aarón Piña Mora
John Pugh
Archie Rand
Freydoon Rassouli
Diego Rivera
Graham Rust
P K Sadanandan
John Singer Sargent
Eugene Savage
Conrad Schmitt
Clément Serveau
David Alfaro Siqueiros
Frank Stella
Rufino Tamayo
Alton Tobey
Allen Tupper True
Kent Twitchell
Leonardo da Vinci
John Augustus Walker
Henry Oliver Walker
Lucia Wiley
Ezra Winter
Richard Wyatt, Jr.
Robert Wyland
Isaiah Zagar

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