Monday, July 4, 2011

The Most Famous Paintings

Even if you are not into art, it's impossible not to know the most famous paintings of the most famous artists in the world. They are harmonically integrated into our daily life; you maybe even saw one of them hanging on the wall of one of your friends... A copy! Unless your friend is the billionaire that owns one of the pieces you will see below.

10. Edvard Munch - The Scream (1893)
National Gallery / Oslo

Why is it so famous? It's one of the most important titles of the expressionism movement, showing what it was about: expressing feelings rather than physical reality.

Where did you see it? The painting is frequently on TV, cartoons and films. The mask of the main character of the film "Scream", the killer "Ghostface", was inspired on the painting.

9. Henry Matisse - The Dance (1909)
Museum of Modern Art / New York City

Why is it so famous? The painting is recognized as a key point of Matisse's career and in the development of modern painting.

Where did you see it? It has countless parody imitations and has been inspiration for many illustrations and logos including the Rio 2016 Olympic games. The logo has been accused of plagiarism by the Telluride Foundation (which has a similar logo), although I recon the similarity come from having base in the same fount of inspiration.

8. Claude Monet - Bridge Over a Pond of Water (1899)
Metropolitan Museum of Art / New York City

Why is it so famous? This is one of the most popular works of the most acclaimed artist of the impressionist movement. His style, which first was considered poor and dull, became one of the most successful art movements to ever exist.

Where did you see it? Every time you see something about Monet, you also see this bridge; and the real one which inspired the artist, today is touristic attraction in Paris.

7. Andy Warhol - Turquoise Marilyn (1964)
Private Collection

Why is it so famous? It is simply the most popular piece of all Marilyn portraits made by the most influential artist in the 20th century: Andy Warhol. It was bought in a private auction by a New Yorker billionaire for more than US$ 80m.

Where did you see it? T-shirts, copy prints, bags, etc. This painting is a fashion must have. It's sold as a print and can be seen all around the world stamped in many shapes and colors.

6. Pablo Picasso - Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907)
Museum of Modern Art / New York City

Why is it so famous? This painting is considered by the American weekly magazine "Newsweek" as the most influential piece of work of the 20th century. It shows 5 prostitutes in Barcelona with a non-conventional (at that time) not feminine shape. It's the start of a new perspective for Picasso's work.

Where did you see it?
It's frequently mentioned together with "Guernica" as the most important pieces by Picasso. Also in the movie "Titanic" a scene where Rose shows some of her art properties to her beloved Jack, and he recognizes the iconic painting exclaiming: "Picasso!".

5. Vincent Van Gogh - Café Terrace at Night (1888)
Kröller-Müller Museum / Otterlo

Why is it so famous? Considered one of Van Gogh's best works, which shows his fabulous way of using the colors and his unique style of painting.

Where did you see it? Another famous copy-print you can see hang in trendy bars, t-shirts, people's houses, and so on. The bar painted by the artist today is called "Cafe Van Gogh" and is a touristic attraction in Arles, France.

4. Salvador Dali - The Persistence of Memory (1931)
Museum of Modern Art / New York City

Why is it so famous? The main reason is the "most": the most iconic surrealist painting, is also the most acclaimed work of Salvador Dali, which is very likely to be the most important artist of the surrealism movement.

Where did you see it before? The painting is extremely popular in all the world, and it's even possible to purchase the "Dali melting clock" in many specialist stores. It is also frequently mentioned in popular culture, for example, in an episode of the cartoon series "The Simpsons".

3. Sandro Botticelli - The Birth of Venus (1486)
Uffizi Gallery / Florence

Why is it so famous? The oldest famous painting in this list, is considered one of the most important paintings of the early Renaissance, with strong influence in Greek mythology.

Where did you see it? If you never saw this painting, you are not inhabitant of planet Earth. It has millions of interpretations and parodies and it has been mentioned countless times in cartoons, films, magazines, games, etc. Just recently, in one of the scenes of the music video "Judas", the singer Lady Gaga pays a tribute to the painting posing like Venus.

2. Michelangelo - The Creation of Adam (1511)
Sistine Chapel / Vatican City

Why is it so famous? It's the most famous and popular image printed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Where did you see it? This is another image that is almost impossible not knowing. The image can be seen or mentioned in countless films and TV programs, like Ben-Hur, Simpsons, Family Guy, 2001: a Space Odyssey, etc. It also has been used in a parody version by the "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" and made as inspiration for a Nokia advertisement.

1. Leonardo Da Vinci - Mona Lisa (1503–1519)

Museum Du Louvre / Paris

Why is it so famous? The most mysterious painting of all time, is also the most famous. It's success starts in the amount of different interpretations and the secret behind Leonardo Da Vinci's most famous art piece. Until now nobody knows if Mona Lisa is going to cry, or if she is ready to smile or who she actually was.

Where did you see it? One of the reasons for such success of "The Da Vinci Code" is definitely causing even more controversy with Leonardo's DaVinci importance and legacy in history and popular culture. You just have to see people ignoring many other important art pieces to pile up together facing Mona Lisa in the Du Louvre museum and you can understand why it's the number one.


  1. These are the greatest art works of the greatest artists. When I look at it I can see the time and imagination they spend to do their masterpiece.

  2. love the art it really get me inspired to be an the dream doing art for passion and imagination am only 12 years but from when i was a child i have all ways wanted to be an artist truly inspiring.........

  3. Thank u so much for having such a nice and entertaing stuff for us. I really enjoy your blog and the way you have describe your content.I also have some amazing and wonderful stuff and i wana to share it with you.
    Stories Tellers


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