The Telegraph explains the importance of Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs on painters since the birth of modern art:
A series of photographs of lighthouses shows an interest in cataloguing, a compulsion to group subjects into what contemporary artists would call typologies. “Muybridge essentially invented the idea of working in series, a critical idea in Modernism,” says Idris Khan, one of many young British artists who express a debt to Muybridge and who has recreated the photographer’s sequence of a man rising from a bed, transposing the frames into a single image.
“He was also the first artist to present images in a grid format, another seminal modern idea.” […] David Hockney, a lifelong admirer, points out, without the interest of artists, he’d probably have been forgotten. “The cinema made him irrelevant. But his books were such an incredible repository of images for artists to use. Every art school had a copy of The Human Figure in Motion,” he says. […]
In assessing Muybridge’s influence on the art world, it’s easy to lose sight of the power of the images themselves. On the one hand they give the lie to the Renaissance ideal of man as the measure of universal beauty, revealing the body as bags of flesh and bone subject to physical forces. You can see why his figures had such a powerful impact on Francis Bacon.