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Famous Paintings of the World

Omkar Phatak Mar 4, 2020
As John Keats put it perfectly, a thing of beauty is a joy forever. We provide you a tour of the most beautiful and famous paintings of the world, through this write-up.

The World's Most Expensive Painting

Qatar's royal family bought the 'Card Players', painted by post-impressionist artist Paul Cézanne, for USD 250 million, making it the most expensive painting in the world.
I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.
- Vincent van Gogh
A painting is the inner world of an artist, finding expression on a canvas. It is the soul and the passion within, finding utterance. What a painting offers is an immortalized experience, of something that was deeply felt by the painter himself, that he shared through his brushstrokes on a canvas, to preserve it forever.
Every painting, is an invitation to delve into the imaginative world of an artist, in search of beauty and truth. Standing in front of one, painted by the masters, you cannot help but feel moved and immensely awed by the profundity of expression.
As an art, painting is perhaps one of the oldest ones developed by man. Prehistoric cave paintings are testimony to man's primordial urge to express himself through colors.
Only a person who has ever tried his luck with a brush can appreciate the wizardry of these master painters. When you think of the greats, some of the prominent names that come to mind are Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso, Monet, Salvador Dali, Goya, Vincent van Gogh, and many more masters of visual expression.
Here is a short introduction to some of the paintings that the world has adored and universally appreciated as the greatest works of art.

Most Famous Paintings

Mona Lisa or La Gioconda by Leonardo da Vinci

The painting that needs no introduction, Mona Lisa is the best known work of the polymath, Leonard Da Vinci, widely recognized as the quintessential renaissance man and one of the most diversely talented geniuses to have ever lived.
The painting that needs no introduction, Mona Lisa is the best known work of the polymath, Leonard Da Vinci, widely recognized as the quintessential renaissance man and one of the most diversely talented geniuses to have ever lived.
Believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506 and continuedly worked upon till 1517, it is now known to be the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, commissioned by her husband.
Lisa del Giocondo's beauty, serenity and the enigmatic smile were subtly captured by Leonardo, which are part of the timeless appeal of the painting. Currently, the painting is located at the Louvre (or Musée du Louvre) in Paris, France.

The Last Supper (L'Ultima Cena) by Leonardo Da Vinci

This mural painting is another immortal work of the legendary renaissance man, depicting the last supper of Jesus with his 12 disciples, where he prophesied that one of them would betray him.
The dismay of the disciples and the sadness felt by the messiah, is captured by Leonardo in this mural, located in the dining hall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan. The detailing in the mural is breathtaking, as the great artist has told an elaborate story, through this work of art.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

This is one of the most celebrate frescoes painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in Vatican city, between 1508 and 1512.
It depicts the creation of the first man, Adam, according to the Book of Genesis. The imagery of the almost touching fingers of God and man, transmitting the spark of life, has attained cult status, making it one of the most copied and parodied paintings of all time.
It projects man as a being, created in the image of God and is one of the most creative representations of Biblical beliefs.

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

Painted by Sandro Botticelli, in 1486, this work is known for its naturalism and was pathbreaking in its time. Commissioned by the Medici family of Florence.
This painting depicts the birth of Goddess Venus, according to Greek mythology. Venus is painted by Botticelli, as a fully-grown woman at birth, arriving on the seashore.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

One of the most iconic works of modern art, that made a political statement, Guernica, painted by Pablo Picasso in 1937, depicts the horrors of the Spanish Civil war.
It specifically depicts the bombing of a village of the same name, in Basque Country, by Italian and German aircraft. The agony and raw aggression of war has been depicted through its symbolism.

Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

Painted in 1888, this is one, among the more than 2,100 artworks by the Dutch painter. It is one of the many sunflower paintings by the artist. The bright yellow and brown shades woven together, create a beautiful vision of the frailty of the flower, still shining in beauty, not succumbing to the ravages of time and decay that have already set in.
The painting brought the grave injustice and destruction inflicted during the war, to the world's attention. Protest, chaos, destruction, death, and defeat are the prime themes, symbolized by the painting.
The melancholy beauty of the flowers has been expertly captured by the deeply passionate artist. This painting is currently displayed at the National Gallery, London. It is now known that Van Gogh dedicated this work to the artist Paul Gauguin, with whom he worked during these years.

List of Famous Paintings

  • Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
  • The Dream by Pablo Picasso
  • Corner of the Garden at Montgeron by Claude Monet
  • Woman III by Willem de Kooning
  • Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt
  • The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí
  • The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh
  • No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock
  • The Last Judgment by Michelangelo
  • Garcon a la Pipe by Pablo Picasso
  • Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur by Pablo Picasso
  • Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier by Paul Cézanne
  • Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens
  • American Gothic by Grant Wood
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
  • The Three Graces by Raphael
  • The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt
  • Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre Auguste Renoir
  • The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso
  • Philosopher in Meditation by Rembrandt
  • Water Lilies by Claude Monet
  • Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn
  • The Scream by Edvard Munch
  • The Card Players by Paul Cézanne
  • Le Rêve by Pablo Picasso
  • Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh
  • Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon
  • Bal du moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Flag by Jasper Johns
  • Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe by Vincent van Gogh
To appreciate the enigmatic smile of Mona Lisa, one has to visit the Louvre once in a lifetime. Visiting the Sistine Chapel and looking at the ceiling would be enthralling. These great paintings will make you pick up a brush and try your hand at this unique form of expression or at least make you visit your local gallery, to appraise this visual art form.