Krull vigorously beats more dust from the rug of High Culture with this followup to Lives of the Musicians (1993) and Lives of the Writers (1994). Although all but one of her 20 choices worked in the Western tradition--and more than half in the 20th century--they make a diverse crew. Among the familiar names for young readers are da Vinci, Michelangelo, Warhol, Rembrandt, Chagall, Duchamp, Rivera, Kahlo, Cassatt, O'Keeffe, Matisse, van Gogh; among the lesser-knowns, William H. Johnson, Katsuchika Hokusai, Sofonisba Anguissola, Kâ€žthe Kollwitz. All of them had unique talents and vision, and it's that uniqueness that Krull zeroes in on, salting her accounts with the entertaining, often outrageous anecdotes that readers have come to expect. She also mentions the love interests, sexual preferences, spouses, and other aspects of the artists' lives that were important to their work. Hewitt decorates each biography with one of her funny, stylish caricatures plus a smaller picture that features redrawn versions of characteristic figures or motifs; some readers, however, may feel perturbed that none of the artists' works are directly reproduced. Fresh, spirited, and unconventional.