Events from the year 1746 in art.
- The Venetian painter Canaletto moves to London, beginning a nine-year stay in England to be closer to his market.
- The French philosopher Charles Batteux publishes Les beaux-arts réduits à un même principe in Paris, putting forward for the first time the idea of les beaux arts, the fine arts.
- A Most Beautiful View of the City of London Taken Through One of the Centres of the Arches of the New Bridge at Westminster (Alnwick Castle, Northumberland)
- Westminster Bridge, with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames (c.1746-47; Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut)
- Elias Gottlob Haussmann – Johann Sebastian Bach
- Thomas Hudson – Theodore Jacobsen
- John Smybert – Sir William Pepperrell, Bt
- March 9 – François-Nicolas Delaistre, French sculptor (died 1832)
- March 22 – Gerard van Spaendonck, Dutch painter (died 1822)
- March 30 – Francisco Goya, Aragonese Spanish painter and printmaker (died 1828)
- June 6 – Francesco Saverio Mergalo, Italian portrait painter of the Rococo or late-Baroque period (died 1786)
- October 22 – James Northcote, English painter (died 1831)
- November 11 – Jean Guillaume Moitte, French sculptor (died 1810)
- December 30 – François-André Vincent, French painter (died 1816)
- date unknown
- Luis Paret y Alcázar, Spanish painter of the late-Baroque or Rococo period (died 1799)
- Anthonie Andriessen, Dutch landscape painter (died 1813)
- William Ashford, British painter who worked exclusively in Ireland (died 1824)
- Domenico Aspari, Italian painter and engraver (died 1831)
- Etienne Aubry, French painter of primarily portraits and genre subjects (died 1781)
- Ramón Bayeu, Spanish Neoclassicist painter (died 1793)
- John Bogle, Scottish miniature painter (died 1803)
- Joseph Boze, French portrait and miniature painter (died 1826)
- Teodor Ilić Češljar, one of the best late Baroque and Rococo Serbian painters from the region of Vojvodina (died 1793)
- Balthasar Anton Dunker, German landscape painter and etcher (died 1807)
- Mauritius Lowe, British painter and engraver (died 1793)
- Xi Gang, renowned Chinese calligrapher and painter in Qing Dynasty (died 1803)
- Philippe-Laurent Roland, French sculptor (died 1816)
- Michael Angelo Rooker, oil and watercolour painter, illustrator and engraver (died 1801)
- Henry Walton, British painter and art dealer (died 1813)
- February 22 – Guillaume Coustou the Elder, French sculptor and academician (born 1677)
- March 20 – Nicolas de Largillière, French painter (born 1656)
- March 29 – Matteo Ripa, painter, engraver and missionary (born 1682)
- June 8 – Giacomo Leoni, architect (born 1686)
- July 30 – Francesco Trevisani, Italian painter of frescoes (born 1656)
- December 31 – Antonio Baroni, Italian painter active in Verona (born 1678)
- date unknown
- Macfall, Haldane (2004). A History of Painting. Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-4179-4508-7.
- Kristeller, Paul Oskar, "The Modern System of the Arts" (1951-1952) repr. in Kristeller, Renaissance Thought and the Arts (New York: Harper & Row, 1965) pp. 163-227. Batteux's full treatise has not been translated into English, but key passages regarding the idea of les beaux arts are translated in Feagin, S.; Maynard, P. (ed.), Aesthetics (Oxford University Press, 1997) pp. 102-104.