I too have a weak spot for Shepard's wildlife paintings. There were a couple of aviation based paintings of his hanging at Cranwell, or at least there used to be; liked them a lot. Story goes that Shepherd used to hitch a lift with the RAF quite a bit. He got the elephants and in return the RAF got quite a collection of aviation paintings. Wonder what happed to all of them with squadrons being stood down and bases being closed. Many of them would be worth a few bob these days.
I have a couple from the Scottish artist James McIntosh Patrick, memories of the auld country.
Do like some of the stuff of the Dutch/Flemish Masters with Rembrandt up front. The Rijksmuseum is a joy to visit. The depth of colour he manages to achieve is excellent. I have a copy of a particular painting that my grandparents paid quite a bit of money for. I'll have to look it out. Its a picture of a couple of merchants in Dutch house talking to a women at a table with what looks like the maid in the background. My straight laced grandparents would have passed out if they knew that the maid was a hooker and the women at the table was listing the prices for a spit roast and a bit of of the brown.
Going a little further back it has to be Michelangelo for me. Not just his paintings but the detail in his drawings is amazing.
As A boy I spent many happy days there. It was a place set up and designed for adults in which children were allowed to roam about freely. There was no concession about making it "child-friendly" or any other such nonsense. If you wanted to understand a bit more you had to read the detail and think about it. Gone a bit soft recently but there you are. The exhibits are still worth seeing.
The Dali caused a storm in the press when it was bought for £8,200 by Tom Honeyman. One of the more inspired decisions.
I'm of the same opinion as the Auld Yin; Carravagio seems to me to have been one of the most influential painters. Recently I read a History of European Art where the author denigrated C for his lifestyle; wild brawling, a fiery temper backed quickly with cold steel and alleged pederasty with his live-in model/assistant Cecco. Subsequently in the book the same author frequently cites C as a huge influence on European painting which indeed extends into the use of light and darkness in modern cinema.
In Dublin's National Art gallery, every January, they host a display of many Turner works, because of the low light levels required not to damage the works, as some of them are very delicate so they show them with just a dim bulb illuminating each work. It's magic and always worth a visit.
The detail in that portrait is superb, every railing in place, every leaf on show, yet it does not detract from the subject. My feeling though is it is so much like a photograph rather than a painting, technically fantastic but no real artistic element.
The bed layout would have had me jailed in Junior Bleeders if I laid out something so slovenly!
I love just about all painters up to, say, the end of the 19th Century, but slightly more modern artists, here are a few of my faves:
Kees van Dongen.
Hans am Ende
Le Ba Dang
Some of them are obviously known for their membership of various "artists' clubs", "Blaue Reiter, die Brücke, Wiener Schule, Worpswede Maler, etc, but they produce marvellous art.
I like artwork around the house. Whenever we go on holiday anywhere we'll bring back either a few pieces by local artists or some prints of the locality. However in terms of favourtite artists/pictures I'll go with these
Tamara de Lempikca - The Sleeper. I've a full size framed print of this in the bedroom.
Edward Hopper - Nighthawks. I've a full sized print of this in the living room
the current mrs_mush buys me a signed Romain Hugault print every birthday. This one is in the kitchen
And the one I want but the current mrs_mush has put her foot down is Gleyre's 'Romans passing under the yoke' to recognise their defeat by the Helvetians
edit to add; Small piece of trivia. The word Subjugate comes from the latin Sub + Jugum. I.e. Under the yoke