March 27, 2023

In the past, when we still couldn’t even imagine that one day we could see the world from the comfort of our home, thanks to the internet, the images in the paintings had a strong evocative power, they told stories and allowed us to travel with the mind to distant lands and traditions.

Travel is an art in itself and all the arts are linked to each other, art is among the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, expressions of a culture, so when you plan your next travels you don’t give up on your priority list to visit museums of local culture and art, these places often tell you more than you can imagine. Read down below and find out which are the most famous paintings in the world.

Vincent Van Gogh famous paintings

The Starry Night

Among the famous paintings in the world is the Starry Night. From 1889, oil on canvas, (73.7 cm x 92 cm) is now exhibited in New York, at the famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). Starry Night is likely to top anyone’s list when it comes to naming Van Gogh’s most famous works. You’ll find it on posters, original socks, canvas bags, computer wallpapers, tattooed arms – you name it. You’ll also find it on the walls of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where it serves as one of the museum’s biggest draws.


Sunflower s is not just one painting, but actually two whole series of multiple sunflower paintings. Most of the time, when someone refers to Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, he is talking about the series he created in Arles, consisting of four initial versions and three repetitions on the same idea. Less well known are the “Paris Sunflowers”, which he created while living with his brother in Paris between 1886 and 1888. Less triumphant and not in full bloom, these sunflowers are nonetheless quite spectacular to behold and can be found in museums including The Met in New York, the Kröller-Müller Museum and (of course) the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.


This is often believed to be Van Gogh’s last self-portrait, as well as his most iconic depiction on a canvas. While critics are divided as to whether this or Beardless Self Portrait is his last ever painting of himself, there is no arguing about which painting is more famous. It features hallucinatory swirling patterns similar to The Starry Night and indicates a general sense of turbulence and pressure. When people think of Van Gogh, this is the man they think of: an intense, menacing character, full of expression and emotional turmoil.

The Potato Eaters

It does not have the colorful star power found in some of his later works, but The Potato Eaters is still considered to be one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. Created in 1885, shortly before the other paintings presented so far, this painting reveals Dutch roots of the artist. Strongly influenced by the artists of the Hague School (notably Jozef Israëls), Van Gogh sought to represent the reality of peasant life as it was: crude, sometimes ugly, but also with an authenticity and passion found in the family environment.

Wheatfield with Crows

In his final days, Van Gogh painted several depictions of the cornfields surrounding him. Of these, this is the most famous, but also the darkest. It seems to show a sense of isolation and loneliness, with a path ending in the middle of the field, going nowhere, surrounded by crows. It is a gloomy image. There are many other interpretations of the painting – including a line of thinking that there isn’t a note of distress or despair to be found (Walther and Metzger) – and ultimately there is no way to know the artist’s motives. What we do know for sure is that the dramatic color palette, a kind of mix between The Starry Night and Sunflowers , makes this one of Van Gogh’s most visceral and striking paintings.

Famous Renaissance paintings

The Birth of Venus

This painting was painted in 1480. Most likely, the artist painted a commissioned painting for the villa of a rich nobleman Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco Medici. Botticelli was inspired by the ancient myth of the goddess of love – Venus. According to him, the goddess was born in the depths of the ocean from the foam of the sea, and then was carried to the island of Cyprus by a favorable wind. There she was surrounded by nymphs and graces. The pose of Venus and the framing of the picture were painted according to ancient traditions, Botticelli strictly followed the ancient canons.

Creation of Adam

This fresco, the work of Michelangelo Buonarotti, is part of a large painting on the vault of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The painting was completed in 1511. The fresco embodies a biblical story from the Old Testament, which tells of the creation of man. At the center of the entire canvas are the almost touching hands of God and Adam. This gesture symbolizes the reception of a soul by a person, the awakening of his craving for knowledge and creativity. The “Creation of Adam” fresco is included in the 9 central images of the chapel ceiling.

Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci’s legendary painting was created in the early 16th century. The canvas gave rise to many legends and versions about the creation of him. According to the officially accepted version, the painting depicts Lisa Gherardini, wife of a wealthy merchant. However, some researchers believe da Vinci depicted his mother or even himself in female form here. Art critics note the unusually harmonious composition of the portrait and its naturalness, which was not characteristic of the art of that time.

Sistine Madonna

According to the most popular version, the painting was painted in 1512-1513. The work was intended to decorate the altar of the Church of San Sisto at the monastery of the same name. The painting depicts the Virgin and Child surrounded by Pope Sixtus II and Santa Barbara. The canvas is written according to the geometric laws of composition and the figures are sculptural. The two angels depicted in the lower part of the image have become an independent attribute of many postcards, albums, advertising posters, etc.

Salvador Dali famous paintings

The Persistence of Memory

Did you know that the persistence of memory, perhaps Salvador Dalí’s best-known painting, was painted in a couple of hours and that the artist took the inspiration to paint it after eating Camembert cheese? The symbolism that hides the work through the famous “loose” clocks (representing the deformation of time with the sunrise in the city of Portlligat as a backdrop) made this oil painting one of the symbols of the artist’s work.

Dream caused by the flight of a bee around a pomegranate just before awakening

This surrealist oil fascinates for the harmony between the figures and the colors of the composition. The most famous theory to explain the symbolism of painting is the Freudian one according to which, in this painting, Dalì wants to represent the subconscious through the images produced during the dream. Thus, in the work we see Gala, her muse, asleep, levitating against a marine background and with a bee appearing on top of the canvas and a pomegranate from which emerge a fish, two tigers and a bayonet.

The temptation of St. Anthony

This famous painting by Dalí depicts Saint Anthony the Abbot represented as a beggar kneeling in the desert while protecting himself with a cross from the temptations that threaten him. Temptations are represented by a horse in the foreground and a row of deformed elephants with very long legs. The horse represents the temptation to success, the woman on the back of the first elephant represents the temptation of sex, and the pyramids on the next two elephants represent the temptation of greed.

Figure of a window

Painted with the oil on cardboard technique, it is one of the first paintings by Salvador Dalì. In this early work Dalí had not yet adopted the surrealist style that characterizes him so much: in this initial phase of experimentation and learning the artist represents with a realistic style his sister Anna Maria, who was 17 years old at the time, as she leans out from the window with your back to the viewer. The work was painted during a vacation in the family home in Cadaqués and in it the shades of blue predominate. The female figure invites us to contemplate the maritime landscape with her through the window.

Picasso famous paintings

Boy with a pipe

Newly established painting in Montmartre, when Picasso was twenty-four, Boy with a Pipe ( Garçon à la pipe in the French original) is an oil painting that is commonly referred to as the artist’s pink period, of which it is one of the earliest expressions. In fact, in the early years of his career, Picasso had painted melancholy paintings, with cold tones, centered on poverty and also interior misery. This sort of pictorial pessimism precisely from 1905 had given way to warmer tones and more cheerful representations – even if tinged with a less obvious melancholy.

Les demoiselles d’Avignon

Beginning in 1907, Picasso’s art began to undergo a new metamorphosis. Inside, traditional Iberian elements found more and more space and, after a visit to the Trocadero – where the first Parisian Ethnographic Museum was housed -, also African reminiscences . Furthermore, she was starting the path that would soon lead her to Cubism. Certainly the most famous painting from this period is Les demoiselles d’Avignon, which Picasso actually titled The Brothel of Avignon. The title was then modified during the exhibition by the curators.

The three musicians

Let’s now take a leap forward and come to 1921. Compared to the early 1900s, both Europe and Picasso had changed at that time. The first had faced the World War, which had also heavily affected Paris, which was now permanently the adopted city of the Spanish painter. He, for his part, had passed through analytical cubism, founded substantially together with Georges Braque, and had then embraced for some time synthetic cubism, more open to color, interlocking and collage.

The dream

How much can a work of art be worth? It is difficult to say, it is difficult to find scientific or pseudoscientific parameters to evaluate the work of an artist. Probably the most correct and only possible answer is: a work of art is worth the price someone is willing to pay for it. Well, the most expensive work of art ever bought by an American collector at the moment is a Picasso painting, but not Les demoiselles d’Avignon or Guernica. On the other hand, paintings owned by museums are not on the market.

Famous artists paintings

Jan Vermeer – Girl with a pearl earring

The Girl with a Pearl Earring or Girl with a Turban is one of the most famous paintings by Jan Vermeer and one of the most beautiful paintings of all time. It seems that the Dutch artist painted it in 1665-1666 (or, according to some, in even later years). Painted in oil on canvas, it is kept in the Mauritshuis in The Hague and sometimes nicknamed “the Dutch Mona Lisa”. Although the identity of the model is not known with certainty, the shape of the turban and the contrast between the modest provenance of the beautiful girl and the richness of the pearl she wears in her ear certainly arouses curiosity. The emblematic figure of her was also celebrated by the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier and by the film that was based on it in 2003 (with Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth).

Breakfast on the grass – Édouard Manet

This famous painting, created in 1863 by the great painter Édouard Manet and kept at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, was at the center of one of the most sensational artistic scandals in the entire history of art. The official Paris Salon in 1863 refused to exhibit the Breakfast on the Grass, as well as other works by Manet and many other painters, so it was exhibited at the Salon des Refusés. Immediately all the right-thinking bourgeois in Paris silenced the Breakfast on the grassas “indecent”, strongly indignant at the nakedness of the woman, not inserted according to tradition within a classical or mythological scene, but rather immersed in full modernity, while quietly conversing with male companions in contemporary clothes, and directly facing the spectator, to call him into question.

Edvard Munch – The scream

Also called The Cry, this is a famous painting by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch and one of the most famous paintings ever. Made in 1893 on cardboard with oil, tempera and pastel, as for other works by Munch it was painted in several versions, four in total. The starting point for this work is autobiographical; Munch himself talks about it in a diary page: during a walk, at sunset, suddenly “… I heard a scream go through nature: I almost seemed to hear it. I painted this picture, I painted the clouds as real blood. ” Hence the hallucinatory colors, the deformed figures, the strongly expressionistic tone of the whole. The version of the Scream exhibited at the Munch Museum was the subject of two thefts.

Claude Monet – The water lilies

The water lilies are a group of 250 paintings, made starting from 1899 by the impressionist painter Claude Monet and exhibited in various museums around the world. The canvases portray the water lilies located in the beautiful garden of the author and their different effects studied en plein air, with the changing hours of the day, the light conditions and their reflections upside down on the water and combined with the sky and with the silhouettes of the trees, in a kaleidoscopic game of lights, colors and references that communicate a sense of peace and contemplation. Along with van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers series, Monet’s water lilies are one of the most beloved floral subjects of all time.

Modern famous paintings

The lovers by René Magritte

Lovers (Les Amants) is a painting by René Magritte from 1928, made with the oil on canvas technique, of which there are two versions preserved respectively at the MoMA in New York and the other at the National Gallery of Australia. The painting depicts two lovers kissing, with their heads covered by a white cloth that prevents them from seeing and communicating, arousing a certain restlessness and anguish. Curiosity: Of the two figures, the most emblematic is the male figure: dark jacket, white shirt and tie, simple and orderly, which does not remain imprinted on the eye. This is Magritte’s father who gives a last kiss to his wife, who has just died, with her face covered with pain.

Mickey by Damien Hirst

It is a minimalist representation of Mickey Mouse, made in 2012 on commission by Disney, which had requested the artist a work of art inspired by Mickey Mouse. The work is made using glosses placed on the canvas, and was auctioned at Christie’s, London , on 13 February 2014 in aid of the Kids Company, a long-supported charity of the artist. Curiosity : “Mickey Mouse represents the happiness and joy of being a child” explained the artist. “I reduced and simplified its shape to the basic elements. Mickey Mouse has remained recognizable as a universal and powerful icon. I hope people appreciate my work ”.

Hector and Andromache by Giorgio De Chirico

Ettore e Andromaca is an oil painting on canvas by Giorgio De Chirico, kept at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome. The painting depicts the passage of the Iliad in which Hector greets his wife Andromache before leaving the walls of the city of Troy to face Achilles, angry for the killing of his lover Patroclus by Hector’s hand.

Abstract speed by Giacomo Balla

Abstract Speed ​​is a modern painting by the futurist painter Giacomo Balla, and is part of numerous works created by the artist between 1913 and 1914, to study movement. The painting could be the second of a triptych that narrates the passage of a racing car through a landscape. The painting evokes the sensation of passing a car, with crossed lines representing sound.

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