From the days before recorded history until the Middle Ages, painters were happy to apply their skills anonymously.
Prehistoric painters depicted the day's hunt on the walls of ancient caves simply to tell a story; medieval painters, to humbly praise the heavens.
It wasn't until the Renaissance that big names like Michaelangelo and Da Vinci made their individual marks on the profession. This, in an era when individual painters rose to a stature something akin to modern rock stars.
Since then, painters like Rubens, Delacroix,Picasso, Degas and others have respectively become examples of individual acclaim or to virtually define the art period in which they lived.
Today, names like David Hockney, Chuck Close, and even Banksey (the world's most famous anonymous graffiti artist) still exemplify the glory and acclaim that accompany the modern art scene.
Meanwhile, the rise of the Internet has also given struggling artists unprededented exposure for showing off their individual style to the world.
Around the Web, learn more about the life and work of painters both ancient and modern via interactive gallery
shows, searchable databases, image galleries, biographies, and related