17 Most Famous Paintings In The World

The Birth of Venus
The Birth of Venus

There is a saying, “life is short but art is long.” Our lives may end but the art we create lives forever. Are you an artist? Or do you like to gaze at paintings and art pieces for hours to understand the deep meaning hidden behind them? Do paintings intrigue you? If yes, then this is the perfect place for you. In our today’s article, we have shortlisted the most famous paintings in the world that are very famous. We will be discussing the painter and also the meaning hidden behind the veil of the painting. So are you ready for this? Let’s wait no more and check these famous paintings in the world. 

Humans have been drawing famous paintings since the oldest of times. Their tools were ashes, and their canvas was the walls of caves in which they lived. With time, the tools became more specialized, and art became more and more refined. Some of the paintings have survived the test of time and they stay in our memories and museums even today. These famous paintings have earned fame for their artists and secured them a place in the history of humankind. Let’s take a look at the 17 most famous paintings in the world.

Famous Paintings In The World

1. Mona Lisa

The artwork of Leonardo da Vinci. Drawn in the time of the Italian renaissance by him and considered to be his last artwork. The woman model is speculated to be Lisa Gherardini. The painting was acquired by a French king and has been in French possession since then. The painting is extremely valuable today.

One peculiar fact that one notices is the lack of eyebrows on the model. This is not a mistake on the part of the artist but a rather accurate depiction of history. Actually, in those times in Italy, it was in fashion for women to have their facial hair removed. Even eyebrows! And that’s what we see today.

This piece of art is the creation of Leonardo Da Vinci and the same was painted between 1503-1517. You must have seen this painting before. But ever since this painting has come into the public domain, there have been some questions regarding the same.

Firstly, who is the woman in the painting? Secondly, why is she smiling? And there have been too many theories to justify the same. Some people claim that she is Leonardo’s mother and some say she is a Florentine merchant’s wife. The driving force of the painting is the enigmatic smile of that lady. 

Also Read: 10 Most Influential People in History

Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa

Image Source: Wikimedia

2. The Last Supper

This painting too is from the same artist, Leonardo da Vinci. It is also known as L’Ultima Cena was made during what is called the High Renaissance movement. it is not drawn on any canvas, but on walls, it is a mural located in Santa Maria Delle Grazie convent in Italy.

The painting imagines Bible, where Jesus is having supper with his apostles. The scene is believed to be from the night before Jesus’s arrest. The painting was commissioned by his patron. Although most of the original painting is lost to elements and intentional damage, the renovated painting survives in the same place to this day.

The Last Supper
The Last Supper

Image Source: Wikimedia

3. Creation of Adam

This one is very popular imagery from the bible. It depicts the creation of mankind by God as it is written in genesis. The work was done by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It has become the icon of Michelangelo’s work and stays popular even in the time of the internet. An interesting observation is the backdrop of God in the painting. It almost looks like a brain alluding to the philosophy that intellect is the greatest divine gift. While others also say that it might be a uterus.

The Creation Michelangelo

Image Source: Wikimedia

4. Starry Night

This painting shows what the artist, Vincent van Gogh saw from the window of his room in the asylum. He is said to have painted multiple paintings of the view from that window none of which have become as famous as this one. The painting is also not totally real. For example, the view of the village in the painting. There was no village in sight from that place and that was totally his imagination. This painting is often categorized as the best in modern art.

This piece of art was created by Vincent Van Gogh and it was completed in the year 1889. Surprisingly, he created this painting at an asylum in Saint Rémy. The painting is actually a depiction of his state of mind which was very turbulent at that point in time. It shows the awe of nature. And the swirls and orbs are created by him to show how the night comes alive and there is always a way out of the darkness. The black color is used to depict the personal demons within his mind.

Starry Night
Starry Night

Image Source: Wikipedia

5. The Scream

This painting is the embodiment of human anxiety and probably fear. The painting is an iconic depiction of human expressions by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Some theories say the scream shows the artist’s internal anxiety and fears. Some say that it inspires by the nearby slaughterhouse and lunatic asylum.

Edvard’s sister too was committed to an asylum and according to some theories that are what the scream is for. The artist’s inspiration was blood-red clouds and blue-black fjord which seemed to him as nature’s scream. That is also the German name of the painting, Der Schrei der Natur.

Also Read: 10 Oldest Buildings in the World

The Scream
The Scream

Image Source: Wikimedia

6. The persistence of Memory

This is a modern work of art by the renowned artist Salvador Dali. The artwork is quite valuable and is kept in an art Museum in New York. The painting is a well-known piece of surrealist art. The painting has some hard surfaces and some soft surfaces over all of which a watch can be seen melting away.

Some have alluded to the Theory of Relativity and its concept of time. Others say it’s a metaphor for the fluid nature of time and how it ‘melts away. The artist however said in an interview that the painting was inspired by Camembert melting in the hot sun.

The persistence of Memory
The persistence of Memory

Image Source: Mike Steele

7. Girl with a pearl earring

This was drawn by Johannes Vermeer. The Painting is not of a real girl but a tronie. It is a Dutch style of artwork that depicts facial expressions in an artistic way. They do not use human models for the paintings. The girl is wearing what is looking like a turban and quite big earrings. The earrings shine and stand apart in the painting so much that it is named after them. It is one of the most popular and famous paintings in the world.

This piece was created by Johannes Vermeer. The painting was completed in the year 1665. This painting was more like the study of a girl who is very modern. This portrait is very realistic and looks more like a photograph. Some people even claim that the painter used a camera to get this picture. However, there is no evidence to support the claim. Moreover, the girl in the painting is not known. There are speculations that she might be Vermeer’s maid. The girl seems to make direct eye contact with the viewer which gives an intimate vibe.

Girl with a pearl earring
Girl with a pearl earring

Image Source: Wikimedia

8. The Night Watch

This masterpiece was painted by the Dutch artist Rembrandt. The oil painting on a canvas shows the soldiers who protect the city of Amsterdam. The painting is a relic from the Dutch golden age and stands out from other such paintings in its depiction of motion. The painting is huge, drawn on a canvas of 363 cm x 437 cm. It was earlier covered in a dark material which made it look dark and thus the name was given.

The Night Watch
The Night Watch

Image Source: Wikimedia

9. Self-portraits of Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh painted multiple portraits of himself. These portraits offer a look inside his life as the facial features are quite vividly captured. He is said to have painted these because he wanted to get a hand at drawing real people’s portraits but did not have enough money to hire models. So, he chose to practice with himself. Some of the portraits also show him bandaged. They refer to the time when he self-mutilated his ear.

Self-portraits of Vincent van Gogh
Self-portraits of Vincent van Gogh

Image Source: Wikipedia

10. Guernica

Guernica is a big oil painting that was completed in 1937. The painting was drawn in response to the bombings of the Spanish town of Guernica and shows human suffering in an abstract form. The painting is big, almost the size of a mural, and is used only black grey, and white colors which make it a painful scene to behold. Picasso was initially supposed to work on a large mural for World’s Fair but on hearing of the bombing, he became inspired to paint on that subject.

Guernica
Guernica

Image Source: Wikimedia

11. The Arnolfini Portrait

This painting dates back to 1434. It is considered to be one of the first paintings that were made using oils. It is a double portrait and its length is full. Jan Van Eyck created this masterpiece. The painting shows a merchant who is Italian and a woman who is pregnant and may or may not be his wife. This is basically said to be the first depiction of an interior portion of space. It will make the viewers feel that they can walk into the painting at any time.

The Arnolfini Portrait
The Arnolfini Portrait

Image Source: Steven Zucker, Smarthistory co-founder

12. The Kiss

This painting was created by Gustav Klimt. Created between the year 1907-1908, the patterns used in this painting are very extraordinary and extravagant. The painting is a depiction of intimacy. The painter has used graphical motifs and luxuriant surfaces to show modernity. The figures in the painting are mythical. This painting was created when the artist was in the golden phase of his life. To create this, he used a golden leaf which is a technique of painting.

The Kiss
The Kiss

Image Source: Wikipedia

13. The Birth of Venus

This was created by Santo Botticelli. It is a full-length painting that is non-religious. All the figures in this painting are nude. This was made for Leonardo de Medici. The figure is claimed to be that of the Goddess of Love. It was made after one Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci. In this painting, Venus was blown away. The wind Gods have thrown him on a  giant clamshell. Though Venus’s birth which was scheduled for incineration had to face destruction. The incident moved the artist so much that he had to give up on the painting for some time. 

The Birth of Venus
The Birth of Venus

Image Source: Wikimedia

14. Arrangement in Grey and Black no.1

This painting is created by James Abbott McNeill Whistler in the year 1871. The painting is a depiction of the painter’s interest in art and his passion to pursue art. He created this piece in his studio in London.  The lady in the painting is Whistler’s mother Anna. She has been portrayed in an arrangement of right angles. This painting became a masterpiece and a symbol of motherhood. 

Arrangement in Grey and Black no.1
Arrangement in Grey and Black no.1

Image Source: Wikipedia

15. The Garden of Earthly

This piece of art is created by Hieronymus Bosch, between 1502-1515. It is a distant depiction of Surrealism. As per the artist, the painting portrays his belief that hell and heaven and God and the Demons were real things. There are three scenes depicted in this painting. In the first one, Lord Christ is seen presenting Eve to Adam. The second one is a scene depicting hell. The third one shows the scene of heaven. 

The Garden of Earthly
The Garden of Earthly

Image Source: Wikimedia

16. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

This masterpiece is a creation of Georges Seurat. It shows a scene of the suburban area highlighting the middle-class people standing outside the city center. In this painting, he has basically used the capture-the-moment approach. It shows that stillness could speak so much. The painter has tried to create a classic piece using the modern technique. The colors used are both bright and subtle.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

Image Source: Wikipedia

17. Less Demoiselles d’Avignon

This piece is a creation of Pablo Picasso and it was completed in the year 1907. The type of art is ur-canvas and it is 20th-century art. It is actually a depiction of the tradition of western famous paintings in the world. In this painting, the women shown are basically from Barcelona, the native place of the painter. These women work as prostitutes in the brothel, which is why they are shown as naked. The style of painting used by the artist is Cubism and it is considered to be the first cubist painting in the world of that time. 

Less Demoiselles d’Avignon
Less Demoiselles d’Avignon

Image Source: Wikipedia

These are the 17 most famous paintings in the world. Kindly share and do post your comments.

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