49 Most Famous Paintings Of All Time In The Art History (Ranked)

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How many famous paintings do you know?

How well do you know these most famous paintings?

After talking about the painting styles and techniques, here we bring the most famous and influential paintings for you.

As I was conversing with my friend casually. Suddenly I asked her about the famous painting she knows. Her reply was Mona Lisa, Starry night and the last supper. I asked her, that’s it?

She replied Yeah and asked me how many do you know?

I said there are lots of famous paintings and artists that you don’t know. Right from the Leonardo da Vinci to Jackson Pollock.

She told me to tell me more about it.

 

#49. Isleworth Mona Lisa: How many of you know that there is another painting of Mona Lisa?

Yeah, there is another painting of Mona Lisa which is known as Isleworth Mona Lisa.

The Mona Lisa Foundation revealed that Leonardo da Vinci painted another painting of Mona Lisa between 1503-1506 after examining the documents and test results.

The Isleworth picture was named after the location of Blaker’s studio in Isleworth, West London.

The painting was later bought by Henry F. Pulitzer, who claimed that it was Leonardo’s only real portrait of Lisa del Giocondo.

The current owners have rebranded the Isleworth Mona Lisa to Earlier Mona Lisa. Because they have the notion that Leonardo himself painted parts of it before beginning the most famous painting in the world: Mona Lisa.

#48. The Potato Eaters:  Another Oil painting made by Vincent Van Gogh in April 1885 in the Netherlands. As he said that he wants to represent peasants as they really were. He intentionally chose scratchy and ugly models,

He thought that it would be natural and unspoiled in his complete work. “You see, I actually wanted to create it in a way that folks get the thought that these people are eating their potatoes under the little lamp which have cultivated by themselves with these hands they’re putting in the dish, and then it speaks of labor and -therefore they honestly earned their food. I wanted to present the thought of an entirely different method of life from ours — civilized folks. Therefore, I actually don’t need everybody simply to admire it or approve of it while not knowing why.”

#47. The Night Café: Vincent Van Gogh created this painting in September 1888 in Arles.

The painting was made on industrial fit canvas of size thirty. It illustrates the inside of the restaurant, with a half-curtained entry within the center background leading, presumably, to a lot of personal quarters.

Five customers sit at tables and the walls to the left and right, and a waiter in a lightweight coat, to one facet of a table close to the middle of the space, stands to face the viewer.

#46. Massacre Of The Innocents: The Massacre of the Innocents is consisting of two paintings which are made by Peter Paul Rubens, illustrating the episode of the biblical Massacre of the Innocents of Bethlehem.

The first version painted by Rubens dates from around 1611–12. In the 17th century, the painting became a part of the Liechtenstein assortment in the Austrian capital, Austria.

The Forchondt brothers sold each painting to Hans-Adam I, patrician of Liechtenstein whom they knew through his father Karl Eusebius of Caesarea, patrician of Liechtenstein around 1700.

The paintings got the Liechtenstein family seal and are recorded within the assortment till the nineteenth century, were drawings in 1815 show they decorated side by side within the Garden Palace in the Austrian capital.

#45. Liberty Leading The People: Liberty leading the people is a painting made by Eugene Delacroix recalling the July revolution of 1830.

A woman representing the concept and the Goddess of Liberty leading the people forward over a barricade and the bodies.

Holding a flag of France in one hand and gun in another hand.

#44. Starry Night Over The Rhone: Starry Night Over the Rhône is one among Vincent van Gogh’s paintings of Arles at midnight.

Van Gogh painted this painting on the bank of the river named Rhone which was walking distance from the Yellow House which Van Gogh was renting at the time.

The effects of light and the night sky always gave subject to Van Gogh’s paintings.

#43. Nighthawks: In 1942, Edward Hopper made this painting. It illustrates the people having their dinner late at night downtown.

This painting is known as one of the best and most recognizable paintings of Edward Hopper in American art. After completion of the painting, within a few months, the painting was sold to the Art Institute of Chicago for $3000.

#42. The Flower Carrier: Diego Rivera created this masterpiece in 1935. The flower carrier represents the simplicity yet coveys so much symbolism and meaning. The vibrant colors are usually rubbed into the wooden boards.

It’s a common technique to paint the hard surfaces.

#41. Irises: Irises is made by none other than Vincent Van Gogh.

He made this painting while he was in Saint Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France, before his death in 1890.

He started this painting within one week when he was admitted to an asylum. He named this painting “The lightning conductor for my illness” because he felt that continuing painting keep himself secured from going insane.

#40. The Large Bathers: Paul Cezanne made this painting which is known as The Bathers in 1906. The “Bathers” is the largest painting series by Cezanne.

He worked on the painting for seven years and it remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1906.

#39. The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a painting from 1633 made by Rembrandt. The paintings show the miracle of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

The painting being stolen in 1990. It’s the sole seascape of Rembrandt’s.

On March 18, 1990, thieved masked themselves as police officers and entered the museum and stole the paintings.

It is considered the biggest art robbery in US history and still remains unsolved. The museum still displays the empty frames in their original location.

#38. Christina’s World: This one is painted in 1948 by Andrew Wyeth. In the 20th century, this painting became one of the best painting in America.

It illustrates that a woman lying on the ground which is a treeless and mostly dusky field, gazing at a gray house on the horizon.

It is a tempera work which is done in a very realistic manner.

#37. The Sleeping Gypsy: This one is an oil painting, painted in 1897 by artist Henri Rousseau. It portrays the lion introspection over a sleeping woman on a full moon night.

Rousseau initial exhibited the painting at the thirteenth Salon des Indépendants and tried unsuccessfully to sell it to the civil authority of his town, Laval. Instead, it entered the personal assortment of a Parisian charcoal businessperson where it remained till 1924, once it had been discovered by the art critic Louis Vauxcelles.

#36. Le Déjeuner Sur l’herbe: Luncheon on the grass is an oil on canvas painting by Edouard Manet, painted in between 1862-1863.

It represents a nude female and a barely dressed female spending time in the water with two fully dressed men.

It was rejected by the Paris Salon jury of 1863 so Manet took the opportunity to showcase this and two other paintings in Salon des Refuses and then those paintings were raged between the audience.

#35. Impression Sunrise: It is one of the famous painting by Claude Monet. It was made from a scene in the port of Le Havre.

Monet represents a mist which gives a hazy background to the piece in the French harbor. The yellow and orange hues are mixed brilliantly with the dark vessels where tiny details are visible to the viewer.

It shows the candid work that has smaller boats in the foreground which is moving forward with the movement of water.

#34. Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle: It is an oil painting created by James McNeill Whistler. It portrays the Scottish social critic, thinker and student historian during a composition that is analogous to Whistler’s Mother, painted in 1871.

#33. Saturn Devouring His Son: It represents the Greek myth of the Titan Cronus who had fear of thrown by one of his children. He ate one by one upon their birth.

It is one of his 14 Black paintings that Goya Painted on the walls in his house between 1819-1823. The painting was transferred to the canvas after his death.

#32. Lady with an Ermine: Lady with an Ermine is another painting by Leonardo da Vinci. One of Poland’s national treasures.

The name of that lady in the painting is Cecilia Gallerani who was the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan at that time.

Leonardo was in the service of the duke at that time. It is an Oil Painting on Walnut board.

This painting has been heavily overpainted. The whole background was darkened, her dress under the ermine was reproduced and a transparent veil being worn by the woman was repainted to match the color of her hair.

The outcome of this rendering has been to give the appearance that her hair reaches down underneath her chin. Another change was the addition of dark shadows between her fingers of the right hand.

#31. Olympia: It is a painting of a reclining nude woman, the maid standing aside from the woman and a black cat, starring mysteriously at the viewer.

While Olympia’s pose had the classic pattern, the subject of the painting portrayed a prostitute. In this painting, the maid offers her a bouquet of flowers, might be a gift from a client.

Since composition was not his skill, Manet took the ready-made Venus of Urbino of Titian to reproduce the painting and expecting no doubt, shielding himself from the critical abuses by invoking Titian’s name.

#30. Van Gogh Self-Portrait: It is an oil on canvas painting. Made by the popular artist Vincent Van Gogh who used to make self-portraits paintings.

This one is painted in September 1889 before he left Saint-Remy-de-Provence. This portrait was created over a 10-year period, and these were a vital part of his work as a painter.

He used to paint himself because he had no money to pay for models.

There are many self-portraits of Van Gogh which were made by other artists as well, one of which is suspicious. As a painter, Van Gogh’s dozens of self-portraits were a vital part of his work of art. Most likely, van Gogh’s self-portraits are representing the face as it is visible in the mirror as he used to reproduce his face.

#29. The Third of May: It is a painting completed in 1814 by the Spanish painter Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes, currently within the Museo del Prado, Madrid. Within the work, Goya sought to commemorate Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies throughout the occupation of 1808 within the terra firma War. Beside its companion piece of the same size, The Second of might 1808 (or The Charge of the Mamelukes), it was commissioned by the probationary government of European nation at Goya’s suggestion.

#28. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon: This painting was painted in 1907. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is the best example of cubism painting and it is the most famous painting.

Pablo Picasso made this famous painting. He abandoned all the forms of painting and represented the traditional art.

He made this painting in such an innovative way that challenges the expectations of all those paintings who shows the idealized representation of female beauty.

It also reflects the African art influence on Picasso. This painting took nine months to complete. He made hundreds of sketches and studies to make this painting.

 

#27. Arnolfini Portrait: The portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife made by Jan Van Eyck in 1434. It shapes a double portrait and it is believed that it depicts the Italian businessperson Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his married woman, presumptively in their house in the Flemish town of Bruges.

#26. No.5, 1948: Jackson Pollock painted this painting. He is known for the contributions to the Abstract Expressionist movement. This painting was sold in May 2006 for $140 million, a new mark for a highest-ever price for a painting, not surpassed for the first time until April 2011.

#25. The School of Athens: It is one of the most famous frescoes by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. He completed this between 1509-1511 as a part of his commission to paint the rooms which are known as Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.  The Picture has long been seen as Raphael’s masterpiece and the perfect personification of the classical spirit of the Renaissance.

#24. Café Terrace at Night: Vincent Van Gogh made this painting in 1888. It is also known as The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum. In mid-September, 1888, Van Gogh painted this painting at Night in Arles, France.

The visitors to the cafe can stand at the north-eastern corner of the Place du Forum. The cafe was refurbished in 1990-1991 to replicate Van Gogh’s painting. He looked towards the artificially lit terrace of a famous coffee house and into the darkness of the rue du Palais which led up to a building structure and beyond the structure. The tower of a former church which is now Musee Lapidaire.

 

#23. Sistine Chapel Ceiling: Michelangelo painted this painting between 1508-1512 which is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the large papal chapel made within the Vatican in between 1477-1480 by Pope Sixtus IV. Pope Julius II Commissioned for this painting.

#22. American Gothic: This is a painting by Grant Wood within the assortment of the Art Institute of Chicago. His Inspiration came in his decision to color that is currently referred to as the American Gothic House at the side of “the quite folks I produced ought to sleep in that house. He painted it in 1930, illustrating a farmer standing beside a lady who has been clarified to be his girl or his spouse.

The figures were made by Wood’s sister Nan wood Graham and their dental practitioner Dr. poet Mckeeby. The lady is wearing a colonial print apron evoking nineteenth century Americana and therefore the man is holding a pitchfork.

#21. Whistler’s Mother: James McNeill Whistler created this painting in 1871. The topic of the painting is Whistler’s mother, Anna McNeill Whistler. It’s exhibited in and control by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, having been bought by the French state in 1891.

It is one of the popular work by an American creative person outside the United States. It’s been recognized as an American icon and a Victorian Mona Lisa.

#20. Water lilies: Claude Monet, who is famous for his water lilies series. This painting portrays a scene from Monet’s French pond, showing light reflecting off the water with water lilies on the surface. It’s on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It is one of the Monet’s largest paintings. It shows the beauty of the sunset reflecting off the water.

#19. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte: George Seurat created this painting in 1884. It’s a number one example of the pointillist technique, made on a big canvas. Seurat’s formation includes a variety of Parisian’s at a park on the banks of the River Seine.

In 1879, Seurat selected as a soldier within the French army and was back home by 1880. Later, he ran a tiny painter’s studio in Paris, and in 1883 showed his work in public for the first time. The subsequent year, Georges Seurat began to figure on La Grande Jatte and exhibited the painting within the spring of 1886 with the Impressionists.

#18. The Kiss: Gustav Klimt created this painting with silver and gold leaf in between 1907-1908. The painting portrays a couple holding each other and their bodies tangled in complex robes created in a style which is influenced by the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement.

The painting is in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum 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 work.

#17. The Persistence of Memory: It is a 1931 painting by Salvador Dalí and is one of his most recognizable works. In 1932, it was displayed at the Julien Levy Gallery, since 1934 the painting has been within the assortment of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in the New York city, that received it from an anonymous donor. It’s well known and regularly documented in standard culture and typically remarked by additional descriptive (though incorrect) titles, such as Melting Clocks, The Soft Watches or The Melting Watches.

#16. The Birth of Venus: In 1480, the Italian artist named Sandro Botticelli made this painting. It represents that after emerging from the sea fully grown, the goddess Venus arrives at the seashore.

While the two are not a pair, the painting is naturally discussed with Sandro’s other paintings as well. This painting is bigger than you think. It is known as the biggest canvas created in Renaissance Florence.

#15. The Creation of Adam: The Creation of Adam is a fresco painting by Michelangelo, painted between 1508-1512. It represents the Biblical creation narrative from the Book of Genesis in which God gives life to Adam, the first man.

The painting has been rendered in countless replications. This painting is one of the most replicated religious paintings of all time.

#14. The Night’s Watch: The painting is popular for three things: it’s massive size, the use of cinematic light and tenebrism and the perception of motion in what would have traditionally been a static military group portrait. Rembrandt made this painting in 1642. It represents the company moving out, led by Captain Frans Banning Cocq and his lieutenant, Willem van Ruytenburch.

#13. Girl with a Pearl Earring: This painting is made by Johannes Vermeer. The painting represents a girl wearing a headscarf and a pearl earring. It’s in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hauge since 1902. In 2006, Dutch civilians selected this painting as the most beautiful painting in the Netherlands. It is estimated that it was painted around 1665.

The precise color and the attachment of the girl’s look toward the viewer have greatly enhanced after the latest restoration. During the restoration, it was found that the dark background was purposely made by the painter to be a deep green.

#12. Guernica: Pablo Picasso made this painting in June 1937 at his home in Rue des Grands Augustins, Paris. The painting, currently within the Museo Reina Sofia, was finished a palette of grey, black, and white, and is regarded by several art critics mutually of the foremost moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history. This painting represents the suffering of people wrenched by violence and chaos. Outstanding within the composition is a gored horse, a bull, and flames.

Upon completion, Guernica was displayed at the Spanish show at Paris International Exposition in 1937 world’s fair and then at other venues as well. The painting became popular and it helped to bring worldwide attention to the Spanish warfare.

#11. St. John the Baptist: Another great artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci. It is believed to be his last painting. In this painting, Leonard used the Sfumato technique.

In this painting, St. John pointing towards the Heaven and suggests the importance of salvation through baptism.

As you can see the perplexing smile of St. John and the curly hair in the painting. That enigmatic smile can be seen in other Da Vinci’s paintings also.

#10. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is an oil painting created in 1907 by the Spanish creative person Pablo Picasso and currently on exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The work represents five nude feminine prostitutes from a whorehouse on Avignon street in Barcelona. Every figure is portrayed in an awkward aggressive manner and none is conventionally female. The ladies seem as slightly alarming and rendered with angular and disjointed body shapes.

#9. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I: In 1903-1907, Gustav Klimt completed this painting which is known as Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. The sitter’s husband commissioned this painting who was a banked and a sugar producer.

In 1941, Nazis stole this painting and displayed at the Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere.

After eight years the painting returned to the family with the help of Bloch-Bauer heirs. The painting was sold at the price of $135 million.

#8. Salvator Mundi: This painting is made by none other than Leonardo da Vinci which portrays the Christ as Salvator Mundi which means Savior of the World in Latin. This painting shows the Jesus in Middle Age dress, giving blessings with his right hand raised and two fingers extended, while holding a rock crystal in other hand, showing his role as savior of the world and master of the cosmos and showing the celestial orb of the Heaven, as it was recognized during that time.

#7. The Adoration of the Magi: The Adoration of the Magi is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

Augustinian monks of San Donato a Scopeto in Florence gave the Commission to Leonardo. He left for Milan that year, left the painting unfinished. The painting is now in Uffizi Gallery, Florence since 1670.

The Virgin Mary and kid are illustrated in the foreground with the Magi bowed in adoration.

Behind them is a semicircle of following figures, as well as that, could be a portrait of young Leonardo (on the right). Within the background on the left is that the ruin of a pagan building, on that workmen, may be seen, apparently repairing it. On the right, men on horseback are fighting, and a sketch of a rocky landscape.

#6. The Old Guitarist: In 1903, Picasso made this painting right after the death of his close friend.

This painting portrays an old, blind, tired man with bare clothes on his shoulders over his guitar, playing in the Streets of Barcelona.

During this time, Picasso was more sympathetic than anything. He painted many paintings which illustrate the hardship of the poor, the ill and those cast out of society. He knew what it’s like to be bankrupt.

#5. Landscape with the fall of Icarus: This one is an Oil on canvas painting. It was made by the Dutch and Flemish painter known as Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

The painting represents the Greek mythology that Icarus achieved success in flying with wings made by his father.

Secured those feathers with beeswax and ignored the father’s warnings, he took his flight too close to the sun but the wax melted and Icarus fell into the sea and drowned. His legs can be seen in the water near to the ship. The flight did not reach anywhere.

#4. Sleeping Venus: The Sleeping Venus is created by the Italian Painter named Giorgione. While it is believed that Titian finished this painting after Giorgione’s death in 1510.

This painting is believed to be the last painting of Giorgione. The painting represents a nude female whose body seems to echo the rolling form of the hills in the background.

#3. The Last Supper: One of the most famous artworks in the world by Leonardo da Vinci. The last supper is Leonardo’s visual interpretation of an event.

It represents the cinematic scene described in few closely connected moments within the Gospels, as well as Matthew during which Jesus announces that one of the Apostles will betray him before the sunrise and later institutes the Eucharist.

According to Leonardo’s belief that posture, gesture, and expression ought to visible the “notions of the mind” all of the twelve disciples that reacts in a very manner that Leonardo thought-about fit that man’s personality. The outcome is a complex study of varied human emotion, rendered in a deceptively simple composition.

Today we are probably looking at very little of an actual painting. Because it has not stood the test of time well. Even before it was finished, there were problems with the paint peeling off from the wall and Leonardo had to repair it. Over the years it has been vandalized bombed and restored.

#2. The Starry Night: One of the most famous paintings by Vincent Van Gogh painted in 1889. It represents the view from his room just before the sunrise with the addition of the village of Saint-Remy-de-Provence. Since 1941, it has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This painting is known as Van Gogh’s finest work and most recognized painting in the history of Western culture.

#1. Mona Lisa: The most famous and expensive painting in the world – the Mona Lisa made by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci.

Do you know why this painting is so famous? Because no one can decipher that perplexing smile of that lady.

The name of that lady is Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. This painting is painted as oil painting on wood.

If you don’t know, it became famous when it was stolen in summer 1911. It captured the attention of the general public and the Newspapers spread the story about theft worldwide.

When the painting returned to the Louvre, Paris, literally the whole world was cheering.

Following are the quotes from some great artists:

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.” – Jackson Pollock

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Sometimes, it’s just perplexing how these artists find inspirations.

One thing is for sure, wherever the inspiration comes from, it will always be accompanied by a great story!

So, what do you think about some of the world’s famous paintings? Which one is your favorite?

Do you know any other famous paintings? Share with us via comments section down below.

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49 Types Of Painting Styles And Techniques (Updated List)

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