Paintings and all kinds of famous works of art arrive, ultimately, without warning. They take the world by surprise and settle in the collective memory, with an appeal that transcends eras, periods, trends and styles. There is no general consensus on what makes them so special, nor does there seem to be a “secret recipe” with the exact ingredients to make your own.
They are paintings whose popularity not only depends on how skillful their creator is with a certain technique (in many cases, their authors were even innovating when creating them or going through altered states of being), but also seem to respond to a whole series of factors. that they could strike a chord with a 16th-century person as much as they do with a 21st-century person today.
Top Famous Artworks
1) La Mona Lisa / La Gioconda – Leonardo Da Vinci
I think we can agree that this painting is widely recognized internationally. Its fame is so great that it has become a popular icon that identifies not only painting but fine arts in general.
Painted between 1503 and 1517, this highly regarded portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci has been stubbornly haunted by two questions since the day it was published: Who is the woman portrayed? and why is she smiling at her?
2) Vincent Van Gogh
Called by many the “magnum opus” of Van Gogh.
It is definitely another one of those indisputably famous works of art. Exceptionally famous, in fact. This is the reason why we can see it in bags, cups, umbrellas and all kinds of objects. It is a testament to his fame and popularity.
It represents a scene that Van Gogh perceived during his stay in a sanatorium. If there’s one thing we all know about him too, it’s that his mental health wasn’t particularly good. Equally famous, unfortunately, is the fact that he attempted to cut off his ear and eventually ended his own life.
3) The Scream – Edvard Munch
The first thing to know about “The scream” is that it is not a single work of art. According to the British Museum blog there are two paintings, two pastels and an unspecified number of prints. The paintings reside in the National Museum in Oslo, Norway and in the Munch Museum, and in 2012, one of the pastels sold for nearly $120 million at auction.
4) The Kiss – Gustav Klimt
The painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Museum, Belvedere Palace, Vienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of “Vienna Jugendstil” – Viennese Art Nouveau – and is considered Klimt’s most popular artwork among all his famous artworks.
5) Guernica – Pablo Picasso
Guernica is probably Picasso’s best known painting. Although this great painter has many famous works of art among his repertoire, the background of this one is something very particular.
It is a painting that tells us about the deep pain caused by the bombing that occurred in 1937 in the Basque city of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, orchestrated by German and Italian warships that were allied to the fascist leader Francisco Franco. The left-wing government that opposed him commissioned this anti-war “cris de coeur” from Picasso for the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris.
6) Girl with a Pearl Earring – Johannes Vermeer
“The Girl with a Pearl Earring,” “Muchacha con Turbante,” or the “Mona Lisa of the North,” is a painting created in the 17th century by artist Johannes Vermeer. It is said to be a deceptively simple portrait, but highly enigmatic.
No name is given and all viewers see is a girl wearing a pearl earring looking back. Speculations about the identity of this young woman range from identifying her as Vermeer’s maiden to believing her to be one of her 15 children.
In this well-known work, the girl’s hair is tied back with a blue band that contrasts with the gold of her dress, which is offset by the dark background giving the painting its luminosity. Her mouth is parted, like she’s about to ask something, but that’s something we can only imagine. Her thoughts, perhaps even her voice.
7) Las Meninas – Diego Velazquez
A painting on a painting within a painting.
This masterpiece by the painter Diego Velázquez consists of different themes addressed in one:
it is a portrait of the Royal Family of Spain and their entourage in Velázquez’s studio; a self-portrait; It could be said that it is almost a display of “bravura” brushwork (a term coined in Italy that means “great skill”) to exalt art for art’s sake and an interior scene that shows us a little of Velázquez’s working life. .
8) The Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” was the first non-religious full-body nude since antiquity. It was made for Lorenzo de Medici. It is also said that the figure of the Goddess of Love is molded in the likeness of Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, whose favors were, it is said, shared between Lorenzo and his younger brother, Giuliano.