The 10 most famous paintings in the world

Table of Contents

Works of art vary enormously in size, some are modestly small while others are imposingly large. Their ages also vary considerably, ranging from several centuries old to just a few decades. But what they have in common is their ability to fascinate through their extraordinary painting techniques and the stories they tell.

We have made a selection of ten of the world’s most famous paintings, each with a unique story.

Tip: If you want to create a work of art yourself but do not yet have the skills to do it completely independently, try Painting by numbers ! With our collection you can create various paintings by Van Gogh and Vermeer.

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

This oil painting, painted on wood by da Vinci in the early 16th century, is one of the most famous works of art in the world. There is still speculation about the identity of the Mona Lisa to this day. Many believe it to be Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a silk merchant from Florence.

Since 1815, the painting has been on display in the Palais du Louvre in Paris, where it is still accessible to the public. Before it got there, it hung in Napoleon Bonaparte’s bedroom.

However, the most intriguing aspect of the painting remains Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile. In 2008, researchers discovered that da Vinci used the ‘sfumato’ painting technique. This technique is known for creating very soft transitions, resulting in the slight blur and shadow in her face.

licensed image

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, the famous Dutch artist, painted approximately 800 paintings in his life, of which ‘Starry Night’ is one of the most famous. This oil painting from 1889 can be admired in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Interestingly, the swirling starry sky in the painting depicts one of the most complex mathematical phenomena: turbulence. The Russian scientist Komogorov only developed the mathematical model to describe turbulence in the 1940s. Researchers suspect that van Gogh intuitively understood how to accurately depict turbulence visually.

Van Gogh painted ‘Starry Night’ and other works during his stay in a psychiatric institution, where he had admitted himself after cutting off his left ear.

1200px Van Gogh Starry Night Google Art Project

Editor’s Tip: Create Your Own Unique Work of Art with Paint by Numbers (or choose a Van Gogh or Vermeer)

Are you looking for an unforgettable art experience? Then try our ‘paint by numbers’ sets, suitable for both adults and children:

  • Paint by Numbers with Your Own Photo: Turn your personal photos into unique ‘paint by numbers’ works of art. Bring special moments back to life and add a personal touch to your interior. You can even upload a photo of the Mona Lisa and paint it!

  • Choose From Various Motifs: Choose from a selection of beautiful animals, < a i=4>flowers and enchanting landscapes. Experience the relaxing and therapeutic benefits of being creative.

  • Stress Reduction and Creativity: ‘Painting by numbers’ is not only a great way to reduce stress, but also to stimulate your creativity. Our sets are put together with care and contain everything you need to get started right away.

All our paintings are packaged with care and shipped directly to your address. Start your artistic journey today and discover the many benefits of this beautiful art form!

Would you like to read more? Scroll further after the image. Start ordering by clicking on the image below.

Editor’s Tip: Create Your Own Unique Work of Art with Paint by Numbers (or choose a Van Gogh or Vermeer)

Are you looking for an unforgettable art experience? Then try our ‘paint by numbers’ sets, suitable for both adults and children:

  • Paint by Numbers with Your Own Photo: Turn your personal photos into unique ‘paint by numbers’ works of art. Bring special moments back to life and add a personal touch to your interior. You can even upload a photo of the Mona Lisa and paint it!

  • Choose From Various Motifs: Choose from a selection of beautiful animals, < a i=4>flowers and enchantinglandscapes. Experience the relaxing and therapeutic benefits of being creative.

  • Stress Reduction and Creativity: ‘Painting by numbers’ is not only a great way to reduce stress, but also to stimulate your creativity. Our sets are put together with care and contain everything you need to get started right away.

All our paintings are packaged with care and shipped directly to your address. Start your artistic journey today and discover the many benefits of this beautiful art form!

Would you like to read more? Scroll further after the image. Start ordering by clicking on the image below.

The Scream by Edvard Munch

‘The Scream’ by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch is a series of expressionist works that have become world famous. These paintings show the Oslofjord – a fjord in southern Norway – and a figure screaming, probably a self-portrait of the artist. A special sunset with blood-red colors during a walk in the summer of 1891 would have deeply affected Munch. This experience inspired him to spend two years exploring different sketches and styles, laying the foundation for Expressionism.

One of the versions of ‘The Scream’ can be seen in the National Gallery in Oslo. This painting has a turbulent history, as it was stolen from the museum in 1994. Another version of ‘The Scream’ was also stolen in 2004. Fortunately, both works of art were recovered and returned to the museum.

The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

The famous painting “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” was painted by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer in 1665. In 2023, this masterpiece came back into the spotlight, thanks to an extensive analysis carried out by a team of scientists at the Mauritshuis Museum. Modern scanners and X-ray techniques were used to examine the painting. The main purpose of this analysis, according to Emily Gordenker, the director of the Dutch museum, was to learn more about the techniques and materials used by Vermeer in creating this work of art.

The identity of the girl in the painting has long been a subject of debate. Peter Webber’s 2004 directorial debut, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” suggests it is about a maid who worked in Vermeer’s house. On the other hand, Vermeer expert Benjamin Binstock claims that this concerns Vermeer’s eldest daughter, Maria. This issue has sparked much speculation and debate among art historians and art enthusiasts. What do you think about the identity of the girl in the painting?

The Perseverance of Memory by Salvador Dalí

“The Perseverance of Memory” is a world-famous masterpiece painted by the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí. This oil painting can be admired in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Dalí described this type of performance as hand-painted dream photographs, in which he presents his interpretation of what dreams feel like to the viewer.

The painting is rich in symbolism, and each element seems to have a deeper meaning. The structure in the center of the painting is often interpreted as a self-portrait of Dalí himself. The presence of melting clocks and a fly raises questions about the nature of time and the transience of life. The distorted, almost surreal images on the canvas are intended to evoke confusion and reflection in the viewer.

Dalí’s work is known for his extraordinary imagination and his ability to defy the boundaries of reality. “The Perseverance of Memory” is no exception and continues to intrigue and challenge people worldwide to discover its deeper meaning. What do you think of this masterpiece and how it embodies the complexity of dreams and memories?

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is indeed an iconic work of art located in the Renaissance church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. The fresco was painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1494 and 1498 in the former dining room of the adjacent monastery. In addition to its artistic value, the work also has historical and symbolic significance.

As for the question of what Leonardo da Vinci served to the protagonists of his famous work, there is indeed some debate and speculation among art historians and restorers. The theory that it could be fruit and fish, especially river eel, as important Christian symbols, is interesting.

River eel was a common fish species in the Milan area during the period in which Leonardo painted the fresco. Furthermore, Leonardo da Vinci often used symbolism in his work, and it is possible that he included these visual elements to give religious meaning to the meal scene.

Although there is no definitive proof of what exactly was on the table, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper remains a masterpiece that continues to intrigue and inspire, both for its artistic beauty and for the possible symbolism hidden within. It remains an important part of art history and cultural heritage.

The Creation of Adam

The mural “The Creation of Adam” is one of the oldest and most famous works in our art collection. The Italian genius Michelangelo painted this masterpiece between 1508 and 1512 in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. This remarkable creation was created during the Italian High Renaissance and is one of the most celebrated paintings of that period, and indeed of all time.

The most striking detail in this painting is the central moment in which the two index fingers almost touch each other. This iconic image has served as inspiration for parodies and reinterpretations over the years, and it remains a powerful symbol of creation and the human quest for knowledge and meaning. Michelangelo’s masterpiece remains a source of admiration and contemplation for art lovers around the world.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

One of the most iconic works of art of the 20th century is “Guernica” by the famous artist Pablo Picasso. This masterpiece of modernism covers no less than 27 square meters and was created in a remarkably short time of two weeks. Picasso painted this impressive work especially for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937.

Notably, despite the immense significance of “Guernica,” the painting itself was not included in an exhibition celebrating its 80th anniversary at the Picasso Museum in Paris. This is because Picasso stipulated in his will that the painting could only return to Spain after Francisco Franco was deposed. Ultimately, “Guernica” is now in Madrid and is no longer allowed to leave Spain, making it an essential part of Spain’s cultural heritage. This powerful work of art remains a symbol of the horrors of war and a powerful indictment of violence and oppression.

Summer Sunday at La Grande Jatte

A masterpiece of pointillism, “Dimanche d’été à la Grande Jatte” by the artist Georges Seurat, is a work of art that took two years to complete. This painting, which measures an impressive two by three meters, is a striking example of the pointillist style. What is special about this style is that it consists of individual, small dots of pure color. Unlike mixing colors, these unmixed dots create a powerful brightness in the painting.

Georges Seurat is not only considered the pioneer of Pointillism, but also the founder of Neo-Impressionism. His artworks show an in-depth attention to the harmony between contrasts, colors and lines. As a result, neo-impressionism has a precise technique, but at the same time remains open to interpretation. The influence of Seurat and Neo-Impressionism quickly spread throughout Europe, making it an important movement in art history.

Whistler’s Mother by James McNeill Whistler

James McNeill Whistler, an American artist who spent his artistic career in London and Paris, is known for his works characterized by clarity and sobriety, which is in line with the Realist aesthetic. One of his masterpieces, entitled “Arrangement in Gray and Black: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother,” is known worldwide as “Whistler’s Mother.”

Although Whistler’s paintings are known for their clean lines, color harmony was always of paramount importance to him. He was inspired by artists such as Velázquez and Vermeer, who were known for their mastery of the use of color. This pursuit of color harmony and his pursuit of realism characterize his oeuvre, and “Whistler’s Mother” is an iconic example of his ability to combine simplicity and aesthetics. The painting is often considered one of the most recognizable works in art history.

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