Today I Learned...

Key Takeaways:

ainting is one of the most creative and expressive art forms. It is a way to express an idea or feeling, which is why it has been around for centuries.

People have been painting since the beginning of time, but there are some paintings that stand out as more famous than others.

Here are ten of the most famous paintings in the world:

1. Leonardo da Vinci - Mona Lisa

The most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The painting was commissioned by her husband and was painted between 1503 and 1506. It is also known as La Gioconda or La Joconde (the happy one). It has been suggested that she may have been pregnant at the time it was painted, which would explain her enigmatic smile. This painting is perhaps one of the most recognized images in history and has inspired artists for hundreds of years.

2. Pablo Picasso - The Last Supper

This painting is based on the biblical story of the last supper. It was painted in the early 1950s by Picasso, who made many famous works of art during his lifetime. This one is 72 inches by 48 inches and was painted in oil on canvas. It is located in the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico.

3. Pablo Picasso - Guernica

This painting is the newest work by Picasso on this list of his most famous paintings and shows the German air force bombing Guernica during Spain's civil war.

The painting has that unmistakable Picasso style, and its unflinching examination of the horrors of war made it an essential part of 20th-century culture.

4. Vincent Van Gogh - The Starry Night

The Starry Night is an oil painting on canvas by the Dutch post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. Painted in June 1889, it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-R├ęmy de Provence, just before sunrise, with its wheat field motif evoked in a vibrant yellow and green palette.

The Starry Night is one of the most well-known works in all of art history and has become a cornerstone of popular culture as one of the most recognizable paintings ever created.

5. The Birth of Venus

The oldest painting in the top 10 and competing with "The Kiss" for most sensuous, Botticelli's Birth of Venus was probably commissioned by a member of the wealthy Medici familyÔÇöwhich ruled Florence and nearby areas for centuries.

In this painting, Botticelli combined his interest in Greek culture with a Renaissance style to create an unforgettable image: the Goddess of Love emerging from a scallop shell.

6. Gustav Klimt - The Kiss

The Kiss was painted in 1907 and is one of the most famous paintings in the world. The painting was painted by Gustav Klimt, an Austrian artist who lived during the late nineteenth century. It depicts a couple embracing, but their faces are not shown. Instead, we see two figures in warm colors standing in a landscape with trees and mountains behind them.

This image has become extremely popular not just because of its beauty but also because it is such an expressive representation of love and passion between two people who cannot be seen clearly due to their position within the picture frame.

7. Michelangelo - Creation of Adam

Michelangelo's most famous work, a section of the Sistine Chapel ceiling called The Creation of Adam, depicts God and Adam with outstretched arms ÔÇö their fingers nearly touching. It is one of the most replicated images in history.

8. Diego Velázquez - Las Meninas

In 1891, Paul Gauguin traveled to Tahiti and created this piece. The painting shows a self-portrait of the artist standing in front of his hut on Hiva Oa Island. He is holding a wooden staff with one hand, and he has a bird on his shoulder.

The work represents Gauguin's journey in lifeÔÇöhe took inspiration from Tahiti's traditional art and culture, which was then combined with Western influences (the piece was inspired by Van Gogh). The painting also serves as a symbol of what Gauguin would eventually become: an important figure in modern art history who helped shape the Impressionist movement.

9. Johannes Vermeer - Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring is a painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer. The work depicts a European girl wearing an earring. It is widely considered to be one of the most famous paintings in the world and has been described as "the Mona Lisa of the North".

10. Edvard Munch - The Scream

The Scream is not a single work of art; according to the British Museum's blog, there are actually two paintings by Edvard Munch -- plus two pastels and an unspecified number or prints. Munch's paintings are held in two major collectionsÔÇöthe National Museum and the Munch Museum. In 2012, one of the pastels sold for almost $120 million at auction.

These paintings have proven to be timeless, and have impacted art and society around the world.

The creators of these paintings began a movement that has influenced artists for hundreds of years, and continues to inspire artists today.

To learn more about art history, check out our class: Art History 101 - Major Periods and Movements.

Aug 20, 2022

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Bob Cohen

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