Translation:I think that he has been the artist who has touched me the most.
As far as I'm aware, "el" is used instead of "la" b̶e̶c̶a̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶i̶r̶s̶t̶ ̶"̶a̶"̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶"̶a̶r̶t̶i̶s̶t̶a̶"̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶e̶s̶s̶e̶d̶. It's like in English how we say "an apple" instead of "a apple". Another example, you say "el agua" even though "agua" is feminine.
E̶d̶i̶t̶:̶ ̶T̶h̶a̶n̶k̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶o̶o̶w̶o̶w̶a̶e̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶o̶r̶r̶e̶c̶t̶i̶o̶n̶,̶ ̶"̶e̶l̶"̶ ̶u̶s̶a̶g̶e̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶e̶s̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶"̶a̶"̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶s̶i̶m̶p̶l̶y̶ ̶i̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶d̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶s̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶"̶a̶"̶.̶
E̶d̶i̶t̶2̶:̶ ̶S̶e̶e̶ ̶P̶r̶o̶f̶e̶s̶o̶r̶A̶n̶t̶o̶n̶i̶o̶'̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶N̶i̶c̶k̶M̶9̶8̶'̶s̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶m̶e̶n̶t̶s̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶o̶w̶:̶
Edit3: I have no idea what to think anymore :S
When we don't know if the artist is a man or a woman we prefer the masculine form el artista. We also use el artista to talk in general about men and women.
But if we specifically know if it is a man or a woman:
Creo que Pablo Picasso es el artista que más me ha tocado
Creo que Frida Kahlo es la artista que más me ha tocado
No sé cuál es el artista que más me ha tocado
We need a native speaker to chime in here, because I also believe a female artist will be "la artista". The rule for using "el" with a feminine noun doesn't depend on whether or not the word starts with "a", but whether or not that "a" is stressed - la amistad, la acción, la ausencia etc.
I'm not being argumentative: I think ProfessorAntonio's comments are very helpful. He explained the el/la issue in terms of pronunciation when the noun starts with "a" and the masculine/feminine issue with el/la artista. Perhaps his comments weren't here when you wrote your last comment?
And, remember, too, that native speakers can and do disagree sometimes and that someone can be a native speaker and not be an expert in grammar.
I put "I think that has been the artist who has touched me most". I think that that's fine, I know that people actually do use that structure in English (at least where I live). I think that the only difference between it and the "correct" answer is that mine is gender neutral.
According to RAE, la artista / el artista both of them are right:
a) Sustantivos comunes en cuanto al género. Son los que, designando seres animados, tienen una sola forma, la misma para los dos géneros gramaticales. En cada enunciado concreto, el género del sustantivo, que se corresponde con el sexo del referente, lo señalan los determinantes y adjetivos con variación genérica: el/la pianista; ese/esa psiquiatra; un buen/una buena profesional. Los sustantivos comunes se comportan, en este sentido, de forma análoga a los adjetivos de una sola terminación, como feliz, dócil, confortable, etc., que se aplican, sin cambiar de forma, a sustantivos tanto masculinos como femeninos: un padre/una madre feliz, un perro/una perra dócil, un sillón/una silla confortable.
:0) (I am a native Spanish speaker)
ProfessorAntonio, please forgive me for being dense: I understand that one would refer to a "generic" artist as el artista. Is the quotation from the RAE saying that one could refer to a specific female artist (Frida Kahlo, por ejemplo) as el artista rather than la artista? I thought you said the opposite above. Help, please!
Wow, what a controversy! Can some of this be a product of cultural change? For example, in the US, even though "actress" is still perfectly correct English, it is now considered "politically incorrect" to use the term since female actors prefer to be called "actors" along with the boys to reduce the sense of discrimination. Could there be a historical shift from"la" to "el" here?