You can just paint a picture with a brush and paints, or you can paint a picture with your soul. It is these kinds of paintings that are considered to be true works of art. There have been many paintings throughout the history of mankind. Many of them are recognizable worldwide and are considered masterpieces of art, which are recognizable even to ordinary people who are not interested in painting. And among them, there are 10 most famous paintings of the world, which open the door to the mysterious world of art.
1: Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
“Mona Lisa” or “Gioconda,” by Leonardo da Vinci. The legendary Italian painter’s work is the most famous painting in the world. On the canvas, da Vinci depicted a noble Florentine woman, known as Lisa Gherardini, who was the wife of the influential merchant Giocondo. This is one of the Italian painter’s works that was particularly dear to him. During the creation of the portrait, the artist worked with special diligence and spent a lot of time on it. In his old age, Da Vinci, leaving Florence, took the Mona Lisa with him. Currently, the painting is stored in the largest museum in the world – the Louvre.
Here are a few facts about the painting:
It is said to be a portrait of Lisa Gerardini, who was the wife of Francesca del Gioconda. The portrait was most likely painted between 1503 and 1506.
The portrait was purchased by the King of France, Francis I, and now belongs to the French Republic.
The painting has been housed in Paris, in the Louvre since 1797. About six million people a year visit the museum just to see the Mona Lisa.
It is one of the most enigmatic paintings. The overall composition, the slight half-smile of the Gioconda suggests that the artist wanted to say something more. Mystery, by the way, is one of the common features of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings.
2: “The Creation of Adam,” Michelangelo
One of the most famous works of the great master of the pen was painted around 1511. The canvas depicts God accompanied by angels without wings. He stretches his right hand toward Adam and almost touches it. Such an idea of the artist conveys the idea that God and man can never be one. The divine image conveys creative energy in a global sense, while in Adam’s body the painter celebrates the physical beauty of man. According to scientifically sound evidence, the human brain is encoded in the image of God.
What is worth knowing about it:
The painting depicts God breathing life into Adam. This scene is also described in the Book of Genesis.
The touching hands of God and Adam have become a symbol of humanism.
It is one of the most religious paintings of all time along with Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.
It shows one of the nine scenes in the Book of Genesis.
3: The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
The Italian painter Botticelli created one of the masterpieces of painting that gained worldwide fame. Presumably, the model for the painting was Simonetta Vespucci, who was the wife of the younger brother of the Florentine ruler Lorenzo de Medici. The painting conveys the myth of the birth of the goddess of love Venera. She is depicted floating in a mollusk shell, driven to shore by the wind created by Zephyr, who is in the arms of his wife. These characters are depicted on the left side of the canvas. One of the goddesses of merriment is waiting for Venus on the shore.
4: The School of Athens, Raphael
This one of the most famous paintings in the world is a fresco that can be found in the Vatican Palace. By order of Julius II, Raphael in the early 16th century began to paint the ceremonial halls of the residence of the pope. One of these murals is the School of Athens, which allegorically conveys philosophical knowledge of the world. The other three nearby frescoes are no less famous – “Disputation,” “Wisdom, Moderation, and Power,” and “Parnassus.” All four works represent the grounds that should be central to humanity – philosophy, theology, justice and poetry.
5: “The Starry Night,” Vincent van Gogh
The Dutch painter painted the painting in 1889, which has earned fame around the world. This work is recognized as one of the best Van Gogh has. On the canvas, the artist depicted the night starry sky in a way that his own imagination prompted him. The starry night in the painter’s imagination is more amazing and has almost nothing to do with reality. This amazing painting is currently in the possession of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
What you should know about the painting:
Starry Night was painted in 1889. The painting depicts a view from a window in the hospital where the artist was residing at the time. Some elements, such as the village, Vincent added from his imagination.
Since 1941, the painting has been in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The museum received it through a bequest from Lillie P. Bliss.
It is one of 2,000 oil paintings made by one of the most famous artists in history.
Vincent van Gogh usually executed watercolors, drawings, and sketches, which became in demand after his death. One of his quotes is “Artists understand nature and love it and teach us how to see it.”
6: Portrait of Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso
In one of the world’s most famous paintings, the creative artist depicted his beloved Dora sitting on a chair with a black cat on her shoulder. It is not only one of the most popular paintings, but also one of the most expensive. The artist and the young woman had a relationship of nearly a decade. The painting was written by the artist in 1941, after that she changed more than one owner. Fans of the works of Picasso were ready to pay fabulous money for this masterpiece. The last time “Portrait of Dora Maar” was put up for auction in 2007 and was sold for half a million American dollars.
7: “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet
This global work by the French Impressionist, which includes more than 200 paintings. All of the canvases depict the flower gardens of the Impressionist’s estate. Some of the later paintings were created by Monet when he already had poor eyesight. The Water Lilies series was Monet’s life’s work and was of great importance to him. Paintings from the cycle are scattered in many famous museums around the world and are some of the finest works of paintings of the 20th century.
8: “The Last Supper,” Leonardo da Vinci
This is one of the great artist’s most legendary works. It is a monumental mural depicting Jesus and his disciples on the day of their last meal together. Da Vinci worked on the painting for three years. In 1498 it decorated the wall of the Dominican monastery in Milan Santa Maria delle Grazie. This painting had an enormous influence on the further development of painting in the West. According to scholarly findings, the painting depicts the moment when Jesus says that one of his followers will soon betray him.
Some facts about this fresco:
Most importantly, the painting depicts the last meal of Jesus in the circle of his disciples. It is mentioned in the Gospel of John.
Leonardo depicted the moment when Jesus tells the apostles that one of them will betray him. There are 12 apostles in the painting.
The painting is not very well preserved. Mostly because of natural and intentional damage. Another reason was the way it was created.
The Last Supper has been tried many ways to restore it, and the most recent one was completed in 1999.
9: “The Last Judgment,” by Hieronymus Bosch
This work by the famous Dutch artist is a triptych consisting of three paintings. There are many paintings devoted to this subject, but no painter, like Bosch, has succeeded in conveying in all the colors of mortal sin and the horror of the Day of Judgment. The painter depicts the torment of hell for sinners, for whom the hour has come to answer for their transgressions and misdeeds. Their bodies are pierced by blades and knives, which are associated with certain associations of the artist.
10: “Permanence of Memory” by Salvador Dali
The painting brought the Spanish painter great popularity. There is probably not a single educated person today, regardless of race, who is not familiar with this painting. In this work the painter seems to move away from a linear understanding of time, depicting a softened flowing clock like melted cheese.
The main idea of the painting is to let people think about how they live their lives and what they spend their time on.
It is also believed that Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity contributed to the painting.
The first showing was at the Julia Levy Gallery, in 1932. It is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1934.
The painting has been given many titles, such as “The Soft Clock” or “The Liquid Clock.”