The self-anointed "painter of light" and "most collected" U.S. artist, Thomas Kinkade has passed away of what his family says are natural causes in his home in Los Gatos, California.


Critics have called his work sentimental and disparaged his depictions of idyllic rural landscapes and scenes from the Bible, but according to Reuters, his works hang in an estimated 10 million American homes. In the Associated Press video below, his earnings are estimated to have been greater than $100 million per year.

Author and essayist Joan Didion found Kinkade's work to be "sinister, suggestive of a trap designed to attract Hansel and Gretel. Every window was lit, to lurid effect, as if the interior of the structure might be on fire."

In interviews, the devoutly Christian Kinkade referred to himself as a "warrior of light," which he meant both in terms of light as visual medium and in a more Medieval sense in which "Light" signifies the Divine. He told the Mercury News, "With whatever talent and resources I have, I'm trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel."

Kinkade was arrested for drunk driving in 2010.

Watch video about this story, embedded via the Associated Press, below: