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Before the advent of photography, if you wanted a picture of something or someone, you had to draw it yourself -- or hire someone to do it for you. Artists (at least the good ones) could make a good living painting portraits, cityscapes, scenes of commoners, or still lifes; and also preserving for us the particulars of their lives, the styles of their clothes and houses and the details of their world. Here are some whose works have lived beyond their lifetimes.
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Fernando Yanez de la Almedina

aka: Yáñez de la Almedina
borndied
15061526
a Spanish painter. He was one of the most important early Renaissance painters in Spain. Of morisco origin, he went to Italy to study art, in the process becoming familiar with the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Upon his return to Spain, he collaborated with Hernando de los Llanos on a number of pieces.
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Catharina II Ykens

borndied
1659unknown
a Flemish still life painter, born in Antwerp, joined the Antwerp Guild, became a Beguine and composed oil paintings. Her works often combined religious scenes with garlands of flowers
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Frans Ykens

borndied
16011693
a Flemish painter who specialised in flower and fruit still lifes. His oeuvre is fairly well established as he signed most of his work. He painted mainly fruit and flower still lifes as well as hunt and fish still lifes.
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Cross-listed in Writers

Yosa Buson

borndied
17161783
a Japanese poet and painter of the Edo period. Along with Matsuo Bash? and Kobayashi Issa, Buson is considered among the greatest poets of the Edo Period.
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Cross-listed in Writers

Yuan Mei

borndied
17161797
a well-known poet, scholar, artist, and gastronome of the Qing Dynasty. Throughout his lifetime, Yuan Mei travelled extensively throughout southern China, visiting Huangshan, Guilin, Tiantai, Wuyi and other famous mountains, and kept journal entries, representative of which is the You Guilin zhu shan ji.
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