There are millions of paintings that are created and shown in galleries and museums all around the world, but a few among them are so popular that most people nowadays can recognize them, even if they’re not all that passionate about art. Here is the list of top 10 most famous paintings ever created.
This select group of paintings is recognizable by people from all over the world and of all ages and will probably continue to echo and leave impressions in the minds of people in the centuries to come. Below is a list of some of the most famous paintings in the world.
List of Top 10 Most Famous Paintings In The World
1. Mona Lisa
By- Leonardo da Vinci
Type : Oil on poplar
Dimensions : 77 cm × 53 cm (30 in × 21 in)
Year : c.1503–1506, perhaps continuing until c. 1519
Location : Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
“Mona Lisa” is a half-length portrait of a woman named “Lisa del Giocondo”. It is by far the most mysterious and marvellous work ever seen by human eyes. The painting contains Mona Lisa and a distant landscape. The sensuous curves of the sitter’s hair and clothing created through sfumato (use of fine shading), are echoed in the shapes of the valleys and rivers behind her. The sitter’s mysterious smile, secret symbols embedded in her eyes and her unproven identity have made the painting a source of ongoing investigation and fascination. In August 2013, art and forensic experts opened the tomb of the “Lisa del Giocondo” family in Florence in order to find Lisa del Giocondo’s remains, test her DNA, and recreate an image of her face. Today; the “Mona Lisa” hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, secured behind bulletproof glass, and is regarded as a priceless national treasure.
2. The Creation of Adam
Type : Fresco
Dimension : 280 cm × 570 cm (9 ft 2 in × 18 ft 8 in)
Year : c. 1512
Location : Sistine Chapel,Vatican City
This painting is located on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. It took Michelangelo four years to finish painting the chapel, he started the work in 1508 and finished it in 1512. It is one of the 9 scenes from the book of Genesis that are painted on the center of the ceiling of the chapel in Vatican. The ceiling is 12,000 square feet and Michelangelo painted it with various characters from the Bible.
Just as its name suggests, The Creation of Adam depicts the moment that God was creating Adam. The painting shows the hands of God and Adam nearly touching each other which gives the impression that God, the giver of life, is reaching out to Adam who has yet to receive it, and also that they are not on “the same level” as would be two humans shaking hands, for instance.
Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ are the most replicated religious paintings of all time.
3. The Scream
By- Edvard Munch
Type : Oil, tempera, pastel and crayon on cardboard
Dimensions : 91 cm × 73.5 cm (36 in × 28.9 in)
Year : 1893
Location : National Gallery, Oslo, Norway
The Scream is the popular name given to each of four versions of a composition, created as both paintings and pastels, by Edvard Munch between 1893 and 1910. The National Gallery, Oslo, holds one of two painted versions (1893, shown here). The Munch Museum holds the other painted version (1910, see gallery, below) and a pastel version from 1893. The fourth and last pastel version was last sold in 2012 to Leon Black for an astounding price of $119,922,600 which is the highest nominal price paid for a painting at auction.
Essentially this famous picture is autobiographical, an expressionistic construction based on Munch’s actual experience of a scream piercing through nature while on a walk, these images showcases an agonized expression of a human being in a dark landscape with bright orange sky.
Its androgynous, skull-shaped head, elongated hands, wide eyes, flaring nostrils and ovoid mouth have been en-grained in our collective cultural consciousness; the swirling blue landscape and especially the fiery orange and yellow sky have engendered numerous theories regarding the scene that is depicted.
4. The Last Supper
By- Leonardo da Vinci
Type : Tempera on gesso, pitch and mastic
Dimensions : 460 cm × 880 cm (181 in × 346 in)
Year : 1494–1499
Location : Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy
“The Last Supper” is one of the world’s most famous, and one of the most studied, scrutinized, and satirized painting.
The painting covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of “Santa Maria delle Grazie” in Milan, Italy. The painting is Leonardo’s visual interpretation of an event chronicled in the “Gospel of John (books in the Christian New Testament). It represents the scene of The Last Supper” of Jesus with his disciples, as it is told in the Gospel of John.
The Last Supper specifically portrays the reaction given by each apostle when Jesus said one of them would betray him. All twelve apostles have different reactions to the news, with various degrees of anger and shock.
5. Starry Night
By- Vincent van Gogh
Type : Oil on canvas
Dimension : 73.7 cm × 92.1 cm (29 in × 36 1⁄4 in)
Year : 1889
Location : Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Starry Night is one of the most well known paintings in modern culture. The painting is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The starry night depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, with the addition of an idealized village.
The painting depicts a view of night full of stars and showcased as a view from bedroom window with use of such bold colours which he was indeed famous for. The tree depicted in the painting connects earth to the sky reflecting his thoughts about death which is that death is the final destination of journey of life and as a matter of fact this painting was made by him just about a year before his death.
6. Girl With A Pearl Earring
By- Johannes Vermeer
Type : Tronie
Dimension : 44.5 cm × 39 cm (17.5 in × 15 in)
Year : c. 1665
Location : Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands
Considered by many to be “the Dutch Mona Lisa” or the “Mona Lisa of the North”, this beautiful painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer features, well… a girl with a pearl earring. It is an artistic masterpiece created in the mid 17th century and is one of the most famous and mysterious marvels of the art world and its mystery is one of the reasons for its popularity.
Jan Vermeer painted this iconic portraits and is a wonderful example of the Baroque style and the use of light. The age of the girl is deceptively hard to fathom. On the one hand the beautiful lustrous eyes suggest the innocence of childhood. On the other hand, there are touches of a girl on the threshold of womanhood. Beautiful contrasts.
The name was made out of the fact that it uses a pearl earring for a focal point.
Three things stand out from the picture: the white pearl earring in the middle of the picture, the interesting combination of colors, and the girl’s intimate gaze.
7. The Night Watch
By- Rembrandt van Rijn
Type : Oil on canvas
Dimension : 363 cm × 437 cm (142.9 in × 172.0 in)
Year : 1642
Location : Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Popularly known as “The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq”. The Night Watch is one of the most famous Dutch Golden Age paintings.
The painting depicts a city guard moving out, led by Captain Frans Banning Cocq, his lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch and the rest of the guard’s armed men. It captures people’s movement, and that makes it unique, as other paintings present people as stiff.
In the painting no two faces are pointing the same direction, everyone is looking somewhere different from another and every personality is differently aligned which suggests chaos among them.
The popularity behind this painting is because of its effective use of light and shadow and the perception of motion.
The light places emphasis on the three men at the front and a girl carrying a dead chicken from her belt, a sign of defeating their enemy.
For much of its existence, the painting was coated with a dark varnish which gave the incorrect impression that it depicted a night scene, leading to the name Night Watch.
By- Pablo Picasso
Type : Oil on canvas
Dimensions : 349cm × 776 cm ( 137.4 in × 305.5 in )
Year : 1937
Location : Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
This painting is known as one of the most moving and powerful anti-war painting in history. It depicts violence and chaos through wrenched buildings and suffering of people and animals. The painting is believed to be a response to the bombing of Guernica, a village in northern Spain, by German and Italian warplanes. As the painting was displayed around the world, it became famous and well aclaimed, and helped to bring worlds attention towards the Spanish Civil War.
After World War II he joined the Communist Party and devoted his time to sculpture, ceramics, and lithography as well as painting. In his late years he created variations on the works of earlier artists, the most famous being a series of 58 pictures based on Las Meninas painting of DIEGO VELAZQUEZ. For nearly 80 of his 91 years Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to and paralleled the whole development of mordern art in the 20th century.
9. American Gothic
By- Grant Wood
Type : Oil on beaverboard
Dimension : 74.3 cm × 62.4 cm (29¼ in × 24½ in)
Year : 1930
Location : Art Institute of Chicago
American Gothic is one of the most famous paintings in the history of American art. The painting has become part of American popular culture, and the couple has been the subject of endless parodies
The names of the painting comes from Wood’s inspiration that occurred from the American Gothic House, which is a part of the painting along with its owners which is a family of farmers.
The painting shows a farmer standing beside a woman that has been interpreted to be either his wife or his daughter. The woman is dressed in a colonial print apron evoking 19th-century Americana, and the couple are in the traditional roles of men and women, the man’s pitchfork symbolizing hard labor, and the flowers over the woman’s right shoulder suggesting domesticity. The plants on the porch of the house are mother-in-law’s tongue and geranium.
He asked his dentist and his sister Nan to pose as a farmer and his unmarried daughter for this painting. The highly detailed style and rigid frontal arrangement of the figures were inspired by Northern Renaissance art, which the artist studied during three trips to Europe.
10. The Birth of Venus
By- Sandro Botticelli
Type : Tempera
Dimension : 172.5 cm × 278.9 cm (67.9 in × 109.6 in)
Year : c. 1486
Location : Uffizi, Florence
It depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a fully grown woman, arriving at the sea-shore . The painting is held in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
This is the goddess Venus being born, emerging from the sea. No one really knows where it was first displayed, but it was commissioned by the Medici family in Florence. It’s become one of the most reproduced images of all time.
In this painting, on the right of Venus is Zephyrus, the God of Winds and he carries with him the gentle breeze Aura. Working together, these two blows the goddess of love ashore where Horae, the goddess of the seasons is waiting to receive her. She has a flowered robe that she holds aloft, ready for Venus to arrive. The painting has simple and effective lines that make it a fantastic piece of work.