Art is one of the interests of tourists and many take it into account in their choice of places and tours. Museums from all eras or specialized art galleries make up the wide range that, especially the big capitals, offer to restless travellers. What are the most famous paintings in the world and where are they?
From the Mona Lisa, Picasso’s Guernica, and Jan Van Eyck’s portrait to Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece, there is a long list of the greatest paintings of all time. We invite you to share the pleasure of looking at a good canvas and savoring the magnetic power it exerts on us.
Most famous paintings in the world: what are they
The main paintings in the world, after a long journey through numerous galleries and patrons, usually reside in their countries of origin. Exposing them is a way of paying tribute to artists of all styles and periods.
The most famous paintings in the world do not have to be the best paintings in the history of art, but those paintings that have become, over time, cultural icons
They are popular images, easily recognizable, reproduced, honored and even parodied. Let’s take a tour of some of the wonderful works of art that beautify the world.
It is difficult to make an assessment of the best works of art in history , but these twelve paintings certainly deserve to lead the ranking. You dare? Let’s kick off the ride… It should come as no surprise that the most famous painting in the world is a mysterious woman with the enigmatic smile. Does it ring a bell?
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci
One of the most famous paintings in the world resides in the Louvre in Paris, a museum visited by more than 6 million tourists each year. It is not only its beauty or the technique used by the Italian painter that captivates, but also the mysteries that surround it.
Also known as La Gioconda, this painting has sparked numerous theories about its background, the treasure hidden behind that peaceful smile, and even its gender and identity. And although its dimensions are disappointing in person, no one can deny its status as an indisputable iconic work.
The Starry Night, by Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh was not recognized until after his death and proof of this is that this is his only painting sold during his lifetime. Poor, eccentric and sick, the Dutch painter conceived this painting from the window of a sanatorium in Saint Remy in 1889, although a more realistic version of it was conceived a year earlier in Arles.
Several of his paintings deserve a place among the most famous paintings in the world.
Also read: Video: journey through the universe of Van Gogh
Although the Van Gogh Museum resides in Amsterdam, his greatest work is part of the MoMA in New York. A delight for the senses in which the sky fuses night and day, emanating utopian forms and impressive energy.
The Kiss, by Gustave Klimt
The Belvedere Palace in Vienna is not only a splendid palace, it also has the largest collection of paintings by Gustave Klimt in the world, but no work by this great Austrian artist, the most significant of his time, captures as many eyes as his famous Kiss.
Also read: The most famous palaces in Vienna
The 180 cm painting was made between 1908 and 1909 and shows Klimt and his girlfriend, Emilie Flöge, as a couple.
The Scream by Edvard Munch
The most famous work of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch was conceived in 1893, and although it maintains many qualities like the work of Van Gogh, it was recognized during the author’s lifetime. Furthermore, more than 150 years after its creation, it is still recognized as one of the most famous paintings in the world.
The creation of the canvas coincided with the hospitalization of Munch’s sister, although the feeling of anxiety that the painting inspires is due to a strange phenomenon that turns the Norwegian sky a red color that, as Munch’s diary described, caused him to panic and anxiety.
Also read: Oslo, an unforgettable adventure in an increasingly vibrant city
The setting belongs to Valhallveien street in Oslo, and the work can be found in the National Gallery in the Norwegian capital.
The final judgement
You will never have enough time to get to know everything that the Vatican Museums keep, because only the time it would take to admire each brushstroke of the Sistine Chapel, the masterpiece of the Italian painter Michelangelo, is really important.
Also read: Tips for visiting the Vatican
The fresco mural that decorates its apse is The Last Judgment, a huge pictorial ensemble whose theme is inspired by the passage from the Apocalypse of Saint John. And on the roof, The Creation will also leave you speechless.
This wonderful work by Michelangelo, despite not being framed like the others on this list, is by unanimous decision of art lovers, one of the most famous paintings in the world.
Everyone knows it as Las Meninas, but the true title of the masterpiece of the Spanish Golden Age painter Diego Velázquez, is “The family of Felipe IV”.
Read also: The Prado Museum, among the five best in the world
It is located in one of the most important museums in the world, with the most valuable art gallery for European painting: the Prado Museum in Madrid. An almost bicentennial institution that houses the most extensive collections of Velázquez, but also of other important painters such as Goya, El Bosco, El Greco, Rubens or Tiziano.
Together with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum, it forms the so-called Triangle of Art.
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (Cenacolo Vinciano), a work created between 1495 and 1497, can still be seen in its first location, the dining room wall of the former Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.
Read also: New revelation of The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo’s Last Supper is a huge painting 460 centimeters high and 880 centimeters wide, done in tempera and oil on a plaster preparation, instead of the usual fresco technique.
The Two Fridas, by Frida Kahlo
One of the best representations of Latin American painting falls on the Mexican Frida Kahlo, a passionate and charismatic woman, who conceived in her works a suffering in the first person combined with surrealism and native motifs.
Also read: Dalí, Monet, Leonardo da Vinci: visiting artists’ houses
Her divorce from the also famous painter Diego Rivera conceived this self-portrait that symbolizes two versions of herself: a right profile that inspires tradition and love (whole heart), and the left profile symbolizes the change towards new cultures, while the heart is dying.
Conceived in 1939, the work is exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City and is one of the most famous paintings in the world.
Guernica by Pablo Picasso
Continuing with suffering, this work captures the sighs of the Spanish Civil War, specifically of the Basque town of Guernica, captured by Pablo Picasso from Malaga in 1937.
The work is a puzzle of infinite interpretations in which Spanish icons such as the bull or the agony reflected in that woman who implores the sky or the fallen warriors have a place.
Also read: Why visit Madrid?
After remaining in the New York MOMA during the Franco dictatorship, the painting became part of the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum, near Atocha, in Madrid, since 1992.
The Persistence of Memory, by Salvador Dalí
The Persistence of Memory is the author’s most iconic work and possibly the most famous surrealist painting in the world . The background is reminiscent of the author’s native Port Lligat while his mythical cast clocks reflect the loss of time during sleep and the exclusive continuity of memories.
Also read: Cadaqués: the most beautiful town in the world according to Dalí
The work is currently exhibited at the MoMa in New York, although the main museum where we can find it is at the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Catalonia.
The Night Watch by Rembrandt
To get to know what is one of the masterpieces of the Dutch painter Rembrandt, you have to travel to Amsterdam and visit the Rijksmuseum, which specializes in Dutch art.
Made between 1640 and 1642, this painting showing soldiers preparing to embark on a mission is one of the jewels of its permanent exhibition.
The Pond of Nympheas or Water Lilies, by Claude Monet
The pond of Ninfeas or water lilies represents a before and after in his work. Monet painted this pond a great number of times; in fact, it became the most recurrent theme of this last stage of his pictorial career.
His house with a garden in Giverny is the setting, where he installed a pond with exotic plants that would become the model for his famous water lilies.
Also read: A walk through Monet’s house and gardens 75 km from Paris
The Nymphaeal pond has been in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, United States, since 1929.
The most famous paintings of all time
It is impossible to mention how many works have been created over the millennia, what we do know is that only a relatively small percentage are considered classics and have become familiar to the public.
These are some of the most famous paintings in the world . Which one would you add?