Tribute Tableaux: Where to Find the Graves of Famous Artists
Artistic legacy – building it, earning it, and maintaining it after death – is no small feat. We pay tribute to the artists who rocked our creative worlds through historic writing, retrospective exhibitions, and visits to important landmarks of their life, often including gravesites – we’re sentimental that way. Ready to make a pilgrimage to some of these great burial sites? Lofty has tracked down the graves of some of history’s favorite artists:
Leonardo da Vinci, April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519
Chapel of Saint-Hubert, Amboise, France
Legend has it that King Francis himself held the head of Leonardo as the famed artist drew his final breaths on May 2nd, 1519. Leonardo died of natural causes at the manor house Clos Lucé, near the king’s residence at the royal Château Amboise. The artist and inventor lived there for the last three years of his life, becoming a close confidant of the king. He is buried nearby at the Chapel of Saint-Hubert.
Titian, c. 1488/1490 – August 27, 1576
Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice, Italy
The Bubonic Plague swept across Europe through multiple centuries in various stages of epidemic. One of its victims was the great Venetian painter, Titian, who succumbed to a fever brought on by plague symptoms in 1576. His son also died from the plague, mere months later. Titian left behind a multitude of work that would inspire later masters such as Diego Velázquez, Antoon van Dyck, and Peter Paul Rubens. He is buried at the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa de Frari in Venice.
Rembrandt van Rijn, July 15 1606 – October 4, 1669
Westerkerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Despite enjoying fame and fortune during his lifetime, Rembrandt found himself bankrupt and penniless by the time of his death in 1669. The artist was very popular despite his financial woes and continued to receive important portrait commissions until he died of natural causes. He is buried under a tombstone in a small church called Westerkerk located in central Amsterdam. Though the exact location of his grave remains unknown, there is a memorial marker on the north wall of the church.
Edouard Manet, January 23, 1832 – April 30, 1883
Passy Cemetery, Paris, France
Who would have thought that an STD would take down the great Modernist painter Édouard Manet? Manet was a rebel, a painter who rejected the French Salon ideals of beauty and sought to represent the life he lived as a bourgeois intellectual and realist. The artist contracted syphilis in his mid-forties and never received treatment, leading to his early death at the age of 51 in 1883. He is buried alongside other notable writers and artists, including his sister-in-law Berthe Morisot, in Passy Cemetery in Paris.
Claude Monet, November 14, 1840 – December 5, 1926
Church Sainte-Radegonde de Giverny, Giverny, France
Monet was a master of light and color. His vibrant and moving landscapes provoked the Impressionist movement, bringing the artist popularity and wealth in the 1880s and 1890s. But Monet’s life was not as vibrant as his works – the artist suffered from depression, financial hardship, and loss of family. He died of lung cancer at the age of 86, still mourning the death of his wife Alice, with whom he shared a home in Giverny. Monet painted some of his greatest floral landscapes in Giverny, where he is buried in a family tomb behind the local church.
Pablo Picasso, October 25, 1881 – April 8, 1973
Château de Vauvenargues, Vauvenargues, France
Picasso enjoyed a long and successful career, outliving most of his bohemian peers. Even in his old age, Picasso maintained a busy work schedule, holding onto the superstitious belief that the act of painting was keeping him alive. Eventually, he put down the brush in 1973, dying of a heart attack at the age of 91, during a dinner party, as the story goes. Unable to go on without him, Picasso’s Jacqueline committed suicide thirteen years later. Both are buried at Château de Vauvenargues, a property Picasso had purchased near the end of his life.
Frida Kahlo, July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954
La Casa Azul, Mexico City, Mexico
Shortly before she died, Kahlo wrote in her diary, “I hope the exit is joyful – and I hope never to return”. Kahlo had dealt with pain and health problems since a young age, after a bus accident severely injured her spine and legs. While she visualized this pain through her work, she also endeavored to lead a colorful, vibrant, and meaningful life as an artist and revolutionary. She passed away on July 13th, 1954, just days after her 47th birthday. Her ashes remain in a frog-shaped urn in La Casa Azul, her family home which now serves as a museum dedicated to her life and work.
Andy Warhol, August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987
St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
Warhol died in his sleep following complications from gallbladder surgery. Though he was an icon of the Manhattan art scene and a well recognized man-about-town, Warhol’s remains left NYC for his hometown of Pittsburgh and were buried in nearby Bethel Park. The funeral service was attended by famous friends, such as Yoko Ono and the art historian John Richardson, who both gave eulogies in his honor.
Robert Mapplethorpe, November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989
St. John’s Cemetery, Queens, New York
Mapplethorpe died due to complications from AIDS in 1989 at 42 years of age. Just before he passed, the artist founded the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. in order to safeguard his artistic legacy and support philanthropic causes. In addition to promoting Mapplethorpe’s work, the foundation has raised and donated millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS research. Mapplethorpe’s body was cremated and his ashes were buried at St. John’s Cemetery in Queens, in his mother’s grave marked “Maxey”.