Mel Ramos (1935-) USA

Mel Ramos' unmistakable paintings are almost a perfect portrayal of the second half of the 20th century: commercialization, sexualization and provocation. The Californian artist was one of many important figures in the pop art movement of the 1960s, distinguished from his contemporaries in his pin-up influences taken from previous decades. His early work was more conservative with a sense of boyish naivety and charm, recreating superheroes from comic books. To create his signature nude pop-art portrait, Ramos looked to other contemporary print media; the nude female derived from images in Playboy, whilst the oversized consumer products were extracted from the adverts amongst magazine pages. Female stars from Marilyn Monroe to Scarlett Johansson have been the subject of Ramos' work - which, unsurprisingly, has caused much controversy. Ramos remains an extremely successful artist today in his 80s, continuing to paint his infamous nude females and requested commissions.