49 Famous Paintings Of All Time In The History Of Art

49 Top Famous Paintings Of All Times PortraitFlip

Have you ever wondered what are the most famous paintings in the world and how were they painted?

Look no further, here is a selection of the most famous paintings of all time that are recognized by people all over the world and of all ages.

These famous artworks will continue to resonate and leave impressions in the minds of people for centuries to come.

The list of famous painters and their paintings in the world also includes the description of these popular paintings, to help understand their significance in art history. 

Here are the top 49 famous artist paintings:

49. Primavera

Primavera Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1477–1482; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

One of the famous paintings, Primavera is the largest panel painting in tempera paint by Botticelli.

It is described as “one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world”,

mona lisa ad of reproduction

This exceptional piece of artwork is one of the most famous historical paintings in western art.

While the history of the painting is unclear, the theme is based on a group of figures from mythology.

To the far left of the painting stands Mercury dissipating the clouds of winter with his staff for spring to come.

It hangs at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

48. The Large Bathers

The last bathers
Date: 1898–1905; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“An art which isn’t based on feeling isn’t an art at all.”

Paul Cézanne

This is the largest, the last work from Cézanne’s lifelong exploration, and perhaps in its unfinished state, it is pure and serene.

The abstract women, present unclothed give the painting tension and density.

The atmosphere of this painting is strange and beautiful – the landscape is largely bluish, a soft haze in which sky and water and vegetation merge and by which the masterfully drawn figures are delicately overcast.

Despite the unpolished state ‘The Large Bathers’ remains a masterpiece of modern art.

The large bathers take their inspiration from the works of Titian and Peter Paul Rubens.

Of all the famous paintings The Les Demoiselles D’Avigon of Picasso and other famous groups of nude women can be an evident inspiration for this famous painting.

The painting is open to view in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, United States.

47. Hope II

Hope II
Date: 1907–1908; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Truth is like fire; to tell the truth means to glow and burn.”

 Gustav Klimt

The painting depicts a female with a cranium sheltered into her dressing gown, who turns her head down towards her rounded belly.

Underneath her, are three females lowering their heads too.

It appears like they foresaw the child’s fate and are mourning with prayers.

In this painting, the woman’s gold-patterned robe – drawn flat, has an extraordinary decorative beauty.

Although Klimt himself called this work Vision, here; birth, death, and the sensuality of the living co-exist in balance. 

Mark of the greatest paintings of all time!

The paint hangs at The Museum of Modern Art.

(Also Read: 10 Paintings by Gustav Klimt)

46. Nude Descending a Staircase

Nude Descending a Staircase
Date: 1912; Image: micr.io

“I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.”

Marcel Duchamp

This artwork by Marcel Duchamp and Rrose Sélavyis is a Modernist classic and has become one of the most famous paintings of its time.

It was infamous for the depiction of a body in motion walking down a narrow stairway.

Which quickly drew outrage from the public, with its unfamiliarity with current trends in European art,
It came to success from a scandal, that helped launch Duchamp into the American spotlight.

In 1912, the Cubists rejected the painting from Salon des Indépendants for its futuristic approach before coming to America

It is on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, US.

45. Liberty Leading the People

Liberty Leading the People
Date: 1830; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Do all the work you can; that is the whole philosophy of the good way of life.”

Eugène Delacroix

Contrary to what most people believe, this painting is not about French Revolution.

It is about Commemorating the July Revolution of 1830, which toppled King Charles X of France’.

An allegorical painting in which a woman carrying the Tricolour French flag is represented as the revolution, it is also an example of the Romantic style of art.

Behind the lady, there is an agglomeration of the different strata of French society walking towards their freedom.

The painting has inspired other works of art and literature, including the Statue of Liberty and Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables

Liberty Leading the People houses at the Louvre Museum (since 2013), Paris.

44. Irises

Irises Famous Paintings
Date: 1889; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

Vincent Van Gogh

One of the many paintings by van Gogh, this one depicts a bouquet of iris flowers, which appear to be blue.

But the records show the actual color would have been a vivid purple, but it seems the pigment has dulled with passing time.

History says that it was one of Van Gogh’s last paintings before he shot himself with a revolver.

In 1987, this painting was the most expensive painting in history at that time, fetching almost $54 million at an auction.

It is on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

43. The Swing

The Swing Painting
Date: 1767-1769; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

Known as the Happy Accidents of the Swing, is an 18th-century oil painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

Considered a gem of the Rococo era, this masterpiece is one of the most known works of this artist.

To an innocent eye, the painting is about the girl on a swing.

But the painter layered visuals with provocative symbolism that provides a whole new perspective on the decadent world

While most artists shielded away from this commission, Fragonard happily took it.

This flirtatious and light-hearted painting gave a rise to Fragonard’s prolific career that was characterized by outstanding success in this genre of paintings.

Of all the famous paintings, this is in the Wallace Collection, London, United Kingdom.

(Suggested Read: Painting of Lady Godiva)

42. Bal du moulin de la Galette

Bal du moulin de la Galette Famous Paintings
Date: 1876; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one’s capacity.”

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Considered to be one of Impressionism’s most celebrated masterpieces.

The scene portrays a regular Sunday afternoon at the Moulin de la Galette located in the district of Montmartre in Paris.

Representing the 19th century working-class Parisians would dress up and spend time there dancing, drinking, and eating galettes into the night.

This of all the famous paintings, this houses at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

41. Nighthawks

Nighthawks Painting
Date: 1942; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”

Edward Hopper

This is one of the famous realism paintings which depicts four modern characters at a diner engaged in different activities.

The painting has meticulously depicted the isolation of people, felt in a modern urban setting.

Regardless of each person in the painting appears to be lonely, neither of them seems to be initiating any kind of interaction with each other.

The diner is said to be based in the long-demolished Hopper’s Greenwich Village neighborhood,

And some art historians speculate that the painting has also inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night.

This painting is on display at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

40. The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee

The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee Famous Painting
Date: 1633; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Life etches itself onto our faces as we grow older, showing our violence, excesses or kindnesses.”

Rembrandt van Rijn

Known to be one of Rembrandt’s most dynamic and dramatic works of art.

Rembrandt’s only seascape painting, depicting Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee.

The biblical scene represents nature against human vulnerability; however, it also shows faith in seemingly calm and unbothered Jesus.

The large-scale image has overwhelming effects to seize our attention and immerse us in an unfolding pictorial drama.

The painting is of recognition for not only depicting sacred history but also for the vivid brushstrokes that bring the canvas to life.

This painting was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990, and hasn’t been recovered to date.

39. Christina’s World

Christina’s World
Estimated date: 1948; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“One’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes.”

Andrew Wyeth

Known as one of the most famous painters of the 20th century in the US.

His recognition comes from depicting the realistic rural American landscape.

Christina features a young woman seen from behind, wearing a pastel dress and lying in the grassy field.

Although she appears to be strangely alert and tense, her gaze fixated on the distant farmhouse.

Wyeth knew this physically impaired woman in person. She was unable to walk properly due to a muscular and nervous disorder.

The title of the painting ‘Christina’s world’ reveals the inner significance of its simple-looking subjects.

It indicates that this painting is more of a psychological landscape than a portrait.

It is at The Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

38. The Sleeping Gypsy

The Sleeping Gypsy
Date: 1897–1897; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“There are two ways of expressing things; one is to show them crudely, the other is to evoke them artistically.”

Henri Rousseau

The painting depicts a dark-skinned Romany sleeping peacefully while a large lion sniffs her, almost transfixed.

The dream-like atmosphere and simple geometric designs bring attention to Rousseau’s remarkable illustrative imagination.

‘The Sleeping Gypsy’ takes its aspiration from the preindustrial past, reflecting modernism.

This captivating painting was of great appreciation among Rousseau’s peers.

Displayed at the MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

37. Le Déjeuner Sur l’herbe

 Le Déjeuner Sur l’herbe Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1862–1863; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Color is a matter of taste and of sensitivity.”

Edouard Manet

This nude painting of a woman on a picnic with two fully dressed men in a rural setting was a challenging artwork, for both the artist and its viewers.

The 16th-century work of art The Pastoral Concert and The Judgment of Paris was Manet’s inspiration for this artwork.

This large-scale painting has become Manet’s—and modern art’s—most famous works of art.

The artist displayed this painting at Salon des Refusés because the Paris Salon jury rejected this controversial painting.

By portraying an ordinary scene on such a large scale, Manet validated the mundane subjects,
It inspired Impressionists like Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir to follow suit with Water Lilies and The Luncheon of the Boating Party, respectively.

This stirring painting hangs in Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.

36. The Great Wave off Kanagawa

The Great Wave off Kanagawa
Date: 1820–1831; Image: gettyimages.in

“I prefer poverty to having someone walk all over me”

Katsushika Hokusai

The painting depicts the area around Mount Fuji under particular storm-like weather.

While sometimes assumed to be a tsunami, the wave is likely to be a large rogue wave, featuring the shadow of Mt. Fiji in the background.

This woodblock print is one of the most recognized Japanese artwork in the world.

The painting as a whole feels calm but the context is dark, with the fishermen struggling for their lives to survive against unpredictable nature, 

The painting is popular for rich hues, particularly, the blue tones– which helped create subtle gradations in this dramatic composition.

Even after almost 200 years, Hokusai’s Great Wave has inspired countless works of contemporary art, including a monumental mural in Moscow and many more.

Today, original prints of The Great Wave are in some of the world’s top museums including:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the British Museum.

35. Lady With An Ermine

Lady With An Ermine Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1489–1490; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

Painted on a wooden panel in oils, this widely attributed and famous artwork portrays a half-length figure of a woman by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Cecilia Gallerani can be identified as the subject, who has her face turned to her left while her body is facing slightly to the right.

Holding an ermine in her arms, Cecilia is dressed quite simplistically, which is also an indicator of her class.

This masterpiece by Da Vinci has stirred various speculations about the completion of the painting.

One of the most famous portraits, this one is in Poland at various locations:

The Princes Czartoryski Museum, Wawel Royal Castle, and National Museum in Krakow.

Interested in getting some of Leonardo’s paintings yourself? Don’t have millions in the bank?

girl with pearl earring replica

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34. Olympia

Date: 1863; Image: kobe-creative.com

“There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another.”

Edouard Manet

Manet’s famous painting of Olympia, was not showcased until two years later after its completion.

Regarded as a highly scandalous painting at the time for featuring an unclad female.

The painting shows a bare-skinned woman who is being served flowers by her servant.

During the exhibition, ‘Olympia’ received various threats due to its controversial nature.

The Salon took additional precautions due to the security threats to the painting.

Today this painting is at Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.

33. Van Gogh Self-Portrait (Without Beard)

Van Gogh Self-Portrait (Without Beard)
Date: 1889; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait without Beard is certainly one of the most notable paintings of all time.

Van Gogh once wrote to his brother Theo, “People say – and I’m quite willing to believe it – that it’s difficult to know oneself – but it’s not easy to paint oneself either”.

While he has painted many portraits before, this is perhaps his most famous portrait.
It’s one of the few portraits of himself without a beard.

Van Gogh’s last self-portrait now hangs in the museum of d’Orsay, Paris, France.

32. The Third of May

The Third of May Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1814; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

The act of painting is about one heart telling another heart where he found salvation.”

Francisco Goya

Francis Goya was a famous nineteenth-century painter from Spain, influenced by Napoleon’s defeat by the Spanish forces.

The painting speaks about liberation, particularly in the context of Spain’s turbulent history.

It depicts the defiance of the Spanish rebels by death at the hands of Napoleon’s soldiers.

The painting masterfully plays with light and shadow, creating an allure for the viewers.

The probationary government of the European nation commissioned the piece of art at Goya’s suggestion.

It is on display at Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

31. No.5, 1948

No.5, 1948 Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1948; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”

Jackson Pollock

This is a masterpiece of Abstract Expressionism that has a combination of colors and abstract forms.

It includes a balance of the composition of paint in several splatters, lines, and shapes.

It is one of the most recognizable paintings of the 20th century.

In this painting, Pollock was using new techniques to express his emotions with colors and lines.

Drips and splashes replaced the forsaken brushstrokes.

Guided with emotion and intuition, he dropped and flung the paint on the demands of his muse.

This took the art world on fire with his impromptu masterworks. 

It is a part of a private collection in New York.

30. The School of Athens

 The School of Athens
Date: 1511; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

This is one of the most famous frescos by the Renaissance artist Raphael.

The Picture is Raphael’s masterpiece and an absolute personification of the classical spirit of the Renaissance.

The painting features famously ancient philosophers like Aristotle and Plato.

‘The school of Athens’ depicts legendary figures that have all lived at different times, but here they gather together under the same roof.

Raphael also included a self-portrait of himself, standing next to Ptolemy, looking right out at its viewers.

He painted this as a part of his commission, to paint the rooms which are known as Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace.

There are many renowned paintings by Raphael that portray the Renaissance art.

Today, one can see it in Vatican City, which is also part of the Vatican Museums.

29. Café Terrace At Night

Café Terrace At Night Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1888; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others”

Vincent Van Gogh

Of all the classic paintings, The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum is one of its kind.

Painted at Night in Arles, France, the painting was subject to some criticism during its time.

Portrays the café in a brightly lit, yellow light in contrast to dark streets and the starry night sky.

His subjects are dining in the café with harsh bright lights.

With the increasing popularity of the artwork, the café was refurbished in 1991 to replicate Van Gogh’s painting.

The painting is at the Kroller Muller Museum in Ontario.

28. The Son of Man

The Son of Man
Date: 1964; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

René Magritte

The painting depicts a man in an overcoat and a bowler hat standing in front of a wall, beyond which are the sea and a cloudy sky.

A hovering green apple covers the man’s face; however, the man’s eyes peek over the edge of the apple.

At the start of 1946, Magritte was painting in both his realist style and his impressionist style.

The Son of Man has become the most iconic image of the Surrealism Movement.

This painting is in a private collection, rarely appearing for public observation.

(You can also read: Paintings by René Magritte that reflect his subconscious mind)

27. Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Sistine Chapel Ceiling Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1508–1512; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Beauty is the purgation of superfluities.


The Sistine Chapel is known as the greatest example of High Renaissance art.

The work was commissioned by Pope Julius II and it took Michelangelo four years to complete this fresco. 

He was known to be a deeply religious man and often had a tone of spirituality in his work.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel tells the story of the book of Genesis depicting over 300 characters.

The series of paintings begin at the door with Noah and ends with the separation of Light from Darkness.

People were surprised to see the bright colors of the fresco when a team of renovators removed centuries of soot and grime from the ceiling.

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace located in Vatican City.

26. Starry Night Over The Rhône

 Starry Night Over The Rhône
Date: 1888; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Often, it seems to me, the night is even more richly colored than a day.”

Vincent Van Gogh

‘Starry nights over the Rhone’, captures the reflections of the gaslighting in Arles across the glimmering blue water of the Rhone.

Along with two lovers in the foreground, he shows his stars’ glow with a luminescence, shining from the dark, blue, and velvety night sky.

The spot was only a minute or two’s walk from The Yellow House, which Van Gogh was renting at the time.

Van Gogh was genuinely moved by this night scene and the experience of the endless darkness on the bank of the river, 
Which he described in a letter: “Once I went for a walk along the deserted shore at night. It was not cheerful; it was not sad – it was beautiful.”

This famous painting hangs in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.

25. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I Top famous paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1903-1907; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“There is always hope, as long as the canvases are empty”

Gustav Klimt

This famous portrait of Gustav Klimt is also known as The Lady in Gold.

Much like the previously mentioned work of Klimt, this also falls under his Golden period.

Where the liberal use of golden, gilded overtones was common in his works.

The painting is said to be commissioned by the sitter’s husband.

In the 1940s, the Nazis seized the painting and renamed it The Woman in Gold, to remove any references to the Jewish family name.

The painting returned to the family with the help of Bloch-Bauer heirs, after eight years from its seizer.

Today, this painting is on display at the Neue Galerie, New York City.

24. Salvator Mundi

Salvator Mundi Top famous paintings PortraitFlip
Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”

Leonardo Da Vinc

Estimated Date: 1490–1500

creation of adam reproduction

“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”- Leonardo Da Vinci

Oil-on-panel painting, portraying a half-length figure of Christ as Savior of the World, facing front and dressed in Renaissance-era robes

This historical painting shows Jesus in Renaissance-era robes, giving blessings with his right hand raised and two fingers extended.

While holding a rock crystal, on the other hand, shows his role as savior of the world and the master of the cosmos.

In 2011, the discovery of a lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci was announced to the world. 

This famous painting of Jesus is Acquired by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism for Louvre, Abu Dhabi.
Currently owned by Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

23. Luncheon Of The Boating Party

Luncheon Of The Boating Party
Date: 1880–1881; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Known as one of the most versatile Impressionist painters the ‘luncheon of the boating Party’ is Auguste Renoir’s most renowned work.

Set in the sunny balcony of the Maison Fournaise, a cafe, rowboat rental, and hotel on the banks of the Îsle de Chatou.Paris overlooking the Seine.

The painting captures a joyous moment among friends.

This captivating piece, with its refined brushwork and full of rich colors that reflect Renoir’s three signature subjects:
portraiture, still-life depictions, and en Plein air settings.

Out of all the famous portraits, this portrait can be viewed in the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.

22. Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog

Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog Top famous paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1818; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“When a scene is shrouded in mist, it seems greater, nobler, and heightens the viewers’ imaginative powers, increasing expectation – like a veiled girl. Generally, the eye and the imagination are more readily drawn by nebulous distance than by what is perfectly plain for all to see.”

Caspar David Friedrich

Believed to be a self-portrait, the young figure standing above the valley cloaked in mountain mist has the same fiery red hair as the artist.

Much like most works of Romanticism, the cornerstone of his painting is the intense and emotional focus on nature.

His art has also helped shape the romantic movement, with paintings displaying individualism, subjectivity, spirituality, and the love of nature.

It can be safely considered one of the best paintings of all time.

Friedrich used landscape as a way of expressing profound experience.

Although, ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ is not a real view but was pieced together from different places visited by Friedrich.

This painting hangs in the museum in Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany.

21. Whistler’s Mother

Whistler’s Mother
Date: 1871; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

Also known as Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, made on oil on canvas created by the painter James McNeill Whistler.

The inspiration for the painting is Whistler’s mother, Anna McNeill Whistler.

This famous portrait received a mixed response from art critics during its time.

Whistler was able to express his style in tonal composition and harmony, it portrays a balance between the different shapes in the picture.

This resulted in a better and more stable view of his mother’s face, dress, and chair.

 This painting today hangs in the Musée d’Orsay Museum of Paris, France(since 2019)

20. The Flower Carrier

The Flower Carrier Top famous paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1935; Image: diegorivera.org

“The artist must try to raise the level of taste of the masses, not debase himself to the level of unformed and impoverished taste.”

Diego Rivera

Known in its native tongue as “Cargador de Flores” is painted on a Masonite.

Diego Rivers is widely considered to be the greatest painter of the 20th century.

The colorful painting portrays a peasant man on all fours with an oversized basket of flowers that is strapped to his back,
while a woman trying to help with the basket as he attempts to rise to his feet.

The flowers in the basket are strikingly beautiful,
However, only for its viewer and not man and women in the work.

Illustrated to reflect individualism, some believe that the painting is representative of the struggles of the worker in a modern, capitalistic world.

‘The Flower carrier’ possesses simplicity and yet exudes symbolism and meaning.

The painting is currently located at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA.

19. American Gothic

American Gothic Famous Painting
Date: 1930; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

‘I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa.’ 

Grant Wood

Painted with oil on Beaver Board, this is Grant Wood’s most impressive painting.

It is an example of Regionalism, a movement that featured depictions of rural American subjects rendered in a realistic style.

This is an image of traditional rural values during this turbulent time of high unemployment and poverty.

Wood was inspired by a quaint, white, Carpenter-Gothic style house, along with the people he thought would live in a house like that.

The models for the same were Wood’s dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby, and Wood’s sister, Nan Wood Graham.

The painting features American values during a time of uncertainty, as an ambiguous mixture of praise and satire remains a subject of debate.

This is the most iconic painting artwork in American art history.

It was first featured at a competition in the Art Institute of Chicago, USA, and it can still be viewed there.

18. Impression, Sunrise

Impression, Sunrise Top famous paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1872; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand when it is simply necessary to love”

Claude Monet

Impression, Sunrise was painted at Monet’s hometown, on the port of Le Havre in France, said to be completed in one sitting.

This classic painting is a part of a series of six canvases depicting the port in different ways;
At dawn, during the day, at dusk, in the dark, from the water, and from the viewpoint of his hotel room.

Impression, Sunrise was made from the viewpoint of his hotel room at the beak of dawn.

The scene is a natural look at the docks in the town and is a concentration on the effects of the sun on the sea.

Once considered an abstract piece of unfinished work by critics, today known as the catalyst of modern art.

This piece of artwork is said to have set a monumental movement in motion for Impressionism

The painting can be viewed at Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris‎.

Suggested read: Famous paintings by Claude Monet

17. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte Painting
Date: 1859-1891; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Some say they see poetry in my paintings; I see only science.”

Georges Seurat

He was an ambitious young man with a scientific theory to prove, Seurat was the pioneer in the technique of pointillist.

This French painting is one of the most famous paintings of all time.

It features a scene along the Seine River where Parisian are seen doused in the sunshine, yet taking shade beneath trees and umbrellas, and enjoying the weather.

Proving his theory, tiny juxtaposed dots of multi-colored paint can allow the viewer’s eye to blend colors optically.

‘A Sunday Afternoon’, is considered one of the most pivotal works of art ever put onto a canvas.

It is a revolutionary alternative; the painting has paved the way for important modern artworks.

Today, it can be viewed at the Art Institute of Chicago, North America.

16. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon Famous Painting
Date: 1907; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.”

Pablo Picasso

‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ is seen as a proto-cubism and is considered as the most influential painting in the cubism art form. 

This artwork by Picasso has sparked controversy with its brothel-inspired subject matter along with its non-classical style of painting.

This unconventional portrait has challenged the expectations of those who portray the idealized representation of female beauty.

It was revolutionary in its radical style and inspiration to artists and viewers alike.

This famous painting features African-inspired art probably for the very first time in European painting.

It is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Pablo Picasso is one of the greats and his paintings are one of a kind too!

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15. Arnolfini Portrait

Arnolfini Portrait Top famous paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1434; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

‘Painting is a form of profound creative release’

Jan Van Eyck

This is visually intriguing among the famous portrait paintings and is considered a masterpiece in art history.

It depicts the Italian businessperson Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, presumptively in their house in the Flemish town of Bruges.

A brushwork so fine the effect seems photographic, with intense detailing and featuring real-world perspectives on an otherwise objective subject.

The iconography and symbolism of the painting are endless and highly complex.

Perhaps, the most noted symbol is the mirror behind the couple on the wall.

The room that the couple are standing in can be perceived to be quite small,
But a simple addition of the mirror has, almost magically, added a real-world perspective to the painting. 

Today, this painting artwork hangs in the National Gallery of London, UK.

14. The Garden of Earthly Delights

The Garden of Earthly Delights Painting
Estimated Date: 1510 and 1515; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“For poor is the mind that always uses the ideas of others and invents none of its own.”

Hieronymus Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych was of creation, human futility and damnation was the depiction of the fleetingness of human life.

One of the famous paintings, The work describes the union of Adam and Eve on the left panel, the romp on the central panel, and Hell on a panel to the right.

His work is known for not only being innovative with provoking symbolism but in its ability to harness timeless human urges.

It reflects its viewers with relevance, showcasing the fiery fate of humanity consumed by passion and pleasure. 

This famous art is been housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain since 1939.

(Also Read: 12 Paintings by Hieronymus Bosch)

13. The Night Watch

 The Night Watch Top Famous Paintings
Date: 1642; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Without atmosphere, a painting is nothing”

Rembrandt van Rijn

Known as one of the most famous paintings of all time, Rembrandt was the master of light manipulation.

The night watch depicts the dramatic use of sunlight and shade to draw the eye to the central-most characters in the scene.

Rembrandt was the first to show the figures in a group portrait in action.

Its notable attribute also includes its size, as it measures a colossal of 3.63m x 4.37m.

The artwork hangs in Rijksmuseum Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as the best-known painting in its collection.

12. The Persistence of Memory

 The Persistence of Memory Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1931; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory is one of the most recognizable works of this Spanish artist and Surrealist icon.

As a work, it has come to represent an entire movement of surrealism.

Depicting a dismal shoreline draped with melting clocks,
It brings an uncanny landscape to life with unnerving accuracy.

Instead of rendering a fantastical world in hasty brushstrokes and arbitrary colors, Dalí painted familiar objects in unfamiliar ways.

Although, it is said that Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity inspired this eccentric piece.

No wonder bags a spot in the list of top famous paintings.

This famous artwork attracts visitors from all over the world to the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

11. Water Lilies’ Series 

Water Lilies’ Series Famous Paintings
Estimated Date: 1897–99; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

Claude Monet

Over the last three decades of his life, Claude Monet Painted more than 250 water lilies paintings.

He captured the ever-shifting effects of light, water, reflections, and atmosphere in this series.

Over time his work became less about constituent elements and orientation, and more about the obliquely structured compositions and focus on pure vivid color.

Water Lilies opened the path to abstract painting, he set a precedent for later artists.
Particularly those of the Post-impressionist, Expressionist, and abstract-expressionist movements.

This is hanging in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

10. Creation of Adam

Creation of Adam Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1508 to 1512; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

‘To touch is to give life.’


The painting takes a biblical narrative from the Book of Genesis, in which God gives life to Adam, the first man.

This painting artwork portrays God and Adam with outstretched arms, their fingers nearly touching.

It is perhaps, one of the most replicated religious images in history.

Said to be Michelangelo’s greatest painting as well as his most famous artwork. 

The creation of Adam is a fresco painting, covering a section of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

It is not easy to interpret historical paintings in a contemporary context, but Michelangelo’s extensive grasp of human anatomy hints to the art historians that everything in this painting has an explanation.

For its exclusivity and complexity, The Creation Of Adams takes the 10th position among all the famous paintings.

9. Las Meninas

 Las Meninas Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1656; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

This painting is depicting life in the court of King Philip IV of Spain and stands the 9th in the list of top famous paintings.

The court portrait painting of a Spanish princess and her entourage has become one of the most debated works in art history

It is considered one of the most notable paintings in western art history.

Las Meninas is an eluding artwork; with its outlandish and yet conventional allure, it is undoubtedly one of the most written about paintings of all time.

Housed at the popular and vast Prado Museum, “Las Meninas” is not only Diego Velázquez`s most famous painting of people, it’s also one of his largest.

8. The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus Famous Paintings
Estimated date: 1485; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

Bringing a renewed interest in classic Greek culture with Early Renaissance style.

This historical painting is known for its unconventional and controversial style.

The birth of Venus by Botticelli creates an unforgettable figure with the Goddess of Love emerging from a huge scallop shell.

It was painted by an Italian artist named Sandro Botticelli, and possibly commissioned by the art-loving Medici family.

This painting is said to be the biggest canvas created in Renaissance Florence.

Surprisingly, during this period the wood panels were a popular choice compared to the untraditional canvas used here.

Known as the greatest painting in art history, it is Located at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

7. The Girl With The Pearl Earring

The Girl WitTop Famous Paintings PortraitFlip h The Pearl Earring
Estimated date: 1665; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

Girl With a Pearl Earring is Johannes Vermeer’s most celebrated and mysterious artwork.

This classic painting is an excellent example of the Baroque style.

Among all the famous artworks, this painting is known for its excellent use of light.

Girl With a Pearl Earring painting is a Tronie, and not a portrait as commonly known.

The girl, on the threshold of womanhood wearing the striking blue and yellow turban and a glistening pearl, is the entire focus with only a dark backdrop behind her.

Housed in a splendid 17th-century palace in The Hague, the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, Netherlands.

6. The Kiss

The Kiss Famous Painting
Estimated date: 1907 to 1908; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“All art is erotic”

Gustav Klimt

The painting portrays a passionate couple holding each other and their bodies tangled in complex decorative robes.

Created with Byzantine artistic influences, the kiss represents the apex of his ‘Golden period’

This popular painting is in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in Austria and is known as a masterpiece of the early modern period.

It is an icon of the Jugendstil—Viennese Art Nouveau—and is known as Klimt’s most popular painting.

How about having this famous painting from the museum to your wall? Own your original “The Kiss” copy at an affordable price.

5. Guernica

Guernica Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1937; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“Every act of creation is, first of all, an act of destruction.”

Pablo Picasso

Guernica is not only a famous painting but also a powerful political statement.

It is an unflinching portrayal of the tragedies of war which has made it an essential part of 20th-century culture and history.

This famous artwork is a symbol of anti-war and an embodiment of peace.

Picasso moved ‘Guernica’ to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York for safekeeping during World War II,
And insisted that it stayed there until democracy returned to Spain.

The painting was brought home to Madrid in 1981.

The Museo Reina Sofía museum in Madrid has been its permanent exhibition since 1992.

4. The Scream

The Scream Famous Paintings
Date: 1893; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“No longer shall I paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. I will paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love.”

Edvard Munch

The Scream is originally titled ‘The Scream of Nature’ and it is not a single work of art.

Munch created four versions of the painting; two in paint and two in pastel.

This famous art painting has come to symbolize the anxiety and anguish of the human mind in the modern era.

In this Nouveau-style painting, the figure is not producing the scream but rather is trying to block out a piercing shriek coming from nature.

The scream got its inspiration from the time munch was taking a sunset stroll with his 2 friends in Oslo,
when a drastic change in weather caused a dramatic red hue to overwhelm his senses.

The paintings reside in the National Museum and the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway.

3. The Starry Night

The Starry Night Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Date: 1889; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream”

Vincent van Gogh

Widely hailed as his magnum opus, this painting’s beauty is timeless and universal.

The starry night is a visually arresting painting, with its striking blues and yellows and the dreamy, swirling atmosphere that has intrigued artists for decades.

Suffering from bouts of depression and paranoia, Van Gogh painted this work of art in the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Remy-de-Provence.

Van Gogh posthumously became one of the most famous painters in the history of Western art.

This popular painting hangs on the walls of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

2. The Last Supper

The Last Supper Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Estimated date: 1495 to 1498; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.”

Leonardo da Vinci

The painting depicts the last time Jesus broke bread with his disciples before his crucifixion.

This huge fresco of 4.60 meters (15 feet) high and 8.80 meters (28.9 feet) wide was painted in an era when religious imagery was still a dominant artistic theme.

It is undoubtedly one of the most important paintings of all time, both for its innovative approach and for the impact it has had on artists of all ages.

We are today looking at very little of this famous artwork of the last supper, as a fact, it has not stood the test of time well.

Over the years the fresco has survived wartime threats and vandalism.

The Last Supper resides in the Convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazia in Milan, Italy, and is one of the top famous artworks in history.

1. Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa Top Famous Paintings PortraitFlip
Estimated date: 1503 to 1519; Image: upload.wikimedia.org

This classic painting is not only the most famous painting but also the most expensive painting of all time.

Painted by none other than maestro Leonardo Da Vinci.

Mona Lisa is perhaps the most recognized piece of artwork in the world.  

Why is Mona Lisa’s painting so famous?

It is said that the prominence of this painting is a result of many chance circumstances combined with the painting’s inherent appeal.

The Mona Lisa portrait painting got its fame and became a household name in 1911 when it was hidden by an ex-Louvre employee for two years.

It was true for Leonardo when he said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.’’

He worked on this masterpiece for 20 years and even carried it everywhere with him.

It is now home to the Louvre Museum, Paris, France (the house of all the famous paintings). 


This list summarizes the most famous paintings of all time. Although we could not include all famous artwork, a few honorable mentions have been made in the list below. 

These are some of the best paintings of all time that are not included in the list:

1. The Old Guitarist – Painting by Pablo Picasso
2. The Raft of the Medusa – Painting by Théodore Géricault
3. The Lady of Shalott – Painting by John William Waterhouse
4. Flaming June – Painting by Frederic Leighton
5. The Hay Wain – Painting by John Constable
6. The Ambassadors – Painting by Hans Holbein the Younger
7. Almond Blossoms – Painting by Vincent van Gogh
8. Dogs Playing Poker – painting by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

The charm of a handmade painting is evergreen, its ability to evoke deep emotions and resonate with its viewers is unmatched.

Want your own handmade painting?

Suggested article: Famous Paintings of Mexico That Reflect The Culture And History Of The Country.

That’s all folks!

Let us know which one of these is your favorite painting and if we missed any.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Van Gogh’s famous paintings include The Starry Night, Starry Night Over the Rhône, Café Terrace at Night, Irises, and The Painter of Sunflowers.
Paintings worth can vary according to a custom painting artist. At PortraitFlip the starting price of a handmade painting is $60.
Some famous paintings in the louver museum are The Raft of the Medusa, The Mona Lisa, The Wedding at Cana, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, The Coronation of Napoleon, Liberty Leading the People, The Lacemaker, and The Turkish Bath
Few of the famous paintings that are missing are Poppy Flowers by Vincent Van Gogh, Le The Concert by Johannes Vermeer, Pigeon aux Petits Pois by Pablo Picasso, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn.
Some of the famous paintings in the Vatican Museum are The Sistine Chapel, Stefaneschi Triptych Raphael Rooms, The Entombment of Christ.

18 thoughts on “49 Famous Paintings Of All Time In The History Of Art

  1. Kavery says:

    Hi Nice Blog. Very happy to see those paintings. and those are very beautiful. thank you for posting this blog. aalankritha art gallery is a famous art gallery in hyderabad. it has more no. of collections of paintings from different indian artists.
    visit:- https://www.aalankritha.com

  2. Pingback: Top Most Famous Paintings Of All Time In History, The Starry Night,

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