Each year, art collectors spend millions of dollars, keen to own the most sought after paintings in the world. However, it is not necessary that the world’s most expensive paintings are also the most famous ones as well. There are millions of paintings in the world, but only a select group of them have made history by transcending time. Generally, museums own these paintings, and since they are priceless works of art, they are rarely sold.
Here is an overview of the top 10 most famous paintings in the world that have left lasting impressions.
10. Birth of Venus By Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli created the Birth of Venus somewhere between 1485 and 1487. Venus, the Roman Godess, is depicted standing on a seashell, emerging from the sea, based upon the myth about how Venus was born. Currently, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery Museum is home to the painting. Apparently, it was Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici of Florence’s Medici family who commissioned Botticelli to paint it.
9. Water Lilies
These nearly 250 oil paintings are collectively known as Nympheas or Water Lilies. At the time these paintings were painting, Claude Monet had his home and garden at Giverny and it is that flower garden that has been depicted in these paintings. Money spent the last 30 years of his life painting the Water Lilies, which are now on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum.
8. Night Watch By Rembrandt van Rijn
Rembrandt van Rijn completed the Night Watch, which is one of his most famous paintings, back in 1642 when the Dutch Golden Age was at its peak. Captain Frans Banning Cocq has been depicted in the painting, along with Willem van Ruytenburch, his lieutenant. The painting was named Night Watch because the varnish on it incorrectly depicted it as a night scene.
7. The Scream
The Scream is the collective name of four similar expressionist paintings painted by Edvard Munch in which an agonized figure is depicted against a blood red sky. Oslofjord is the background in the painting, apparently viewed from Oslo’s hill of Ekeberg. Several versions of The Scream were created by Munch, although the original, 1893 version is housed in Norway’s National Gallery.
6. Girl With A Pearl Earring
Johannes Vermeer’s the Girl with a Pearl Earring is often regarded as “the Dutch Mona Lisa.” Much like Vermeer’s other works of art, not much is known about this painting. There is no certain date as to when this painting was exactly painted and it is also not know who commissioned it. As its name suggests, the pearl earring is the painting’s focal point.
Guernica is one of the most paintings by Pablo Picasso, in which the suffering inflicted upon people by war and its tragedies have been shown. Considering its name, Picasso painted and completed this painting in 1937 to draw the attention of the world to the incident in which German bombers had bombed the Basque Country village of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
4. The Creation of Adam
Between 1508 and 1512, Pope Julius II had commissioned Michelangelo to the paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and it ended up becoming the High Renaissance’s most famous artworks. The Creation of Adam is just one of the frescos painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which is in the Vatican, Rome. The painting depicts God breathing life into Adam, based upon the Book of Genesis.
3. The Last Supper
Leonardo da Vinci painted the mural that has become recognized as the Last Supper in Milan in the 15th century. The painting is present at the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery, where the wall of its dining hall is covered by this mural. As its name makes it obvious, Jesus’s last supper with his apostles. Leonardo painted this mural between 1495 and 1498.
2. Starry Night
The Starry Night is one the most famous paintings of Vincent van Gogh and today, this painting is regarded as modern culture’s most renowned images. The village of Saint-Rémy is depicted in the painting under a swirling sky. Originally, the composition did not contain the cypress tree. Since 1941, New York’s Museum of Modern Art has been home to the Starry Night.
1. Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa definitely needs no introduction. Perhaps the world’s most famous painting and also the most famous by Leonardo da Vinci, who painted it in Florence during the Renaissance. Leonardo actually finished painting the Mona Lisa in 1519, shortly before his death. Despite having been stolen from the Louvre, Paris, it was eventually returned and millions of people visit to see it every year.
Each of the above paintings is a masterpiece in its own right, and no wonder they are regarded as the top 10 most famous paintings in the world.