While we are inundated with art day-in and day-out, there are a few special pieces that have transcended time and culture and have slated their place in art history. Below is a gallery of few most famous paintings of all time – recognisable pieces from the ages that will never be forgotten.
1. The Mona Lisa
List of Most Famous Paintings would be incomplete without the mention of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. This infamous portrait of Lisa del Giocondo was completed some time between 1503-1519 and currently on display at the Musee du Louvre in Paris.
2. Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh has painted countless well-known pieces; however, his painting Starry Night is widely considered to be his magnum opus. Painted in 1889, the piece was done from memory and whimsically depicts the view from his room at the sanitarium he resided in at the time.
3. The Scream
Using oil and pastel on cardboard, Edvard Munch painted his most famous piece, The Scream, circa 1893. Featuring a ghoulish figure that looks like the host from Tales from the Crypt, the backdrop of this expressionist painting is said to be Oslo, Norway.
Inspired by the bombing of Guernica, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso completed this most famous piece, Guernica, in 1937. This piece was originally commissioned by the Spanish government and intended to depict the suffering of war and ultimately stand as symbol for peace.
5. The Persistence of Memory
Painted in 1931 by yet another Spanish artist, Salvador Dali’s The Persistance of Memory is one of the most recognizable and individual pieces in art history. Depicting a dismal shoreline draped with melting clocks, it is thought that Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity inspired this bizarre piece.
6. Three Musicians
At first glance it might look like a collage but Pablo Picasso’s famous painting, Three Musicians is actually an oil painting. Completed in 1921, he painted two very similar paintings that are mutually referred to as Three Musicians and can be found in the New York MoMA and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
7. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Using the unique technique of pointillism, creating a complete image that is made up of only distinct individual dots, the French painter Georges Seurat brings us his most famous piece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
8. Girl with a Pearl Earring
Considered by some to be the “Mona Lisa of the North,” this enchanting painting by the Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer, features exactly what the title infers – a Girl with a Peal Earring. Completed circa 1665, this piece can now be found in the Mauritshuis Gallery in the Hague.
9. Whistler’s Mother
Whistler’s Mother is the truncated name for James McNeill Whistler’s very famous portrait originally known as Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist’s Mother. Painted in 1871, it’s one of the few American pieces on this list – although it is owned by a Parisian museum and therefore rarely seen in the states.
10. Portrait de L’artiste Sans Barbe
Although the title isn’t very creative, Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait without Beard is certainly one of the most notable paintings of all time. While Van Gogh has painted many portraits before, this is the most notable because it’s one of the few that depicts him without a beard. Additionally, having sold for $71.5 million in 1998, it is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.
11. The Night Watch
In its native Dutch tongue, De Nachtwacht is most popularly referred to in modern culture as The Night Watch. Using oil on canvas, Rembrandt (van Rijn) was commissioned by a militia captain and his 17 militia guards in 1642 to paint their company, in an effort to show off for the French Queen that would be visiting.
12. The Kiss
Easily touted as Gustav Klimt’s most famous painting, The Kiss is a realistic yet geometric depiction of a kissing couple, completed in 1908 in Vienna, Austria. What makes this piece different than the other oil paintings on the list is that it also incorporates gold leaf on canvas (in addition to oils).
13. Water Lilies
French painter Claude Monet painted a series of 250 pieces known as Water Lilies between 1840 and 1926 – it’s exactly what it sounds like, 250 paintings depicting a water lily pond from his backyard. While this might not be one individual painting, considering the collection is spread amongst the most renowned galleries of the world, the series is a deserving instalment on this list.
We hope you enjoyed our presentation of few Most Famous Paintings of All Time.