3 Major Themes of Basquiat Paintings

Do you consider yourself a lover of fine art?

If so, join the club. After all, nothing can move the soul or lift the human spirit quite like the power of a great painting. And yet truly inspiring artists are very rare. Thus you have to learn to appreciate the works of those who left behind masterpieces that will endure for centuries. This includes  Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings.

Basquiat paintings have been inspiring people for decades. In fact, he remains as influential today as ever. The key to fully appreciating his work is to understand his most common theme. Fortunately, this article can help.

Here we take a look at the major themes contained in  Jean Michel Basquiat paintings to take your appreciation of his talent to the next level. Keep reading to learn more.

Who Was Jean-Michel Basquiat?

Let’s start by discussing who this pioneering artist was, his background, and how he became so famous in the art world.

Basquiat was a Brooklyn-born painter. He was a black man whose graffiti-inspired paintings combined bold imagery with poetic text.

His career only lasted for eight years before he died in 1988, and yet his legacy continues to live on and his paintings are more valuable today than ever before thanks to his reputation, influence on the art world, and undeniable talent.

Here’s a resource where you can learn about the Basquiat crown motif.


Was Basquiat obsessed with death? It’s hard to argue that he wasn’t. After all, much of his work represented his attempt to come to terms with the fact that everyone dies and everything beyond mortality is a total mystery.

His fascination with mortality likely led to depression as well as a deep feeling of hopelessness, which would explain the darkness contained in so many of his most popular pieces.


As a black American rising to fame in the 1970s and 1980s, it’s hard to imagine that racism wasn’t a heavy influence on Basquiat both as a man and an artist. This is the best explanation for much of the disturbing graffiti-inspired work that he produced during his short career.

And yet it seems clear that he was able to use his talent to rise above the injustices that held so many of his African-American contemporaries down.


There’s no denying that religion was one of Basquiat’s great obsessions. This is especially apparent in works like “Devil” which reflects the inherent evil contained in each person.

Basquiat never shied away from showing how religion influenced society and its destructive nature.

A Guide to the Major Themes of Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings

It’s no secret that Basquiat is one of the most influential modern painters to come upon the American art scene over the last fifty years. Fortunately, this guide to the major themes of Basquiat paintings will help you appreciate his work more than you might have ever imagined possible.

This blog is truly a labor of love created to provide a wealth of reading material for people of every age and background.

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