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The Most Famous Paintings In Art History.

Updated on October 5, 2014

The Mona Lisa, The most famous painting in the world

Without any doubt the most famous painting in the world is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. The Italian painter who lived in the Renaissance time period.

The Mona Lisa has been, as many paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci, surrounded by mysteries. It stood for eternal beauty and her famous smile inspired many authors and poets for writing there masterpieces. Leonardo Da Vinci became famous for his Sfumato technique. Sfumato literally means "gone up in smoke". What is meant that the painter is not using oultines to accentuate the figures but soft tones. There are no harsh outlines, and the areas blend together. Leonardo Da Vinci defines Sfumato as : "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane."

I will take you on a journey through the world of art and give you some insight about the most famous artworks.

I constrict myself with paintings this time, and I'm fully aware of the fact that the most famous artworks are in this case mostly chosen from the western art.

The question you can ask is : Is the most famous art the best art as well ?

And why is a famous painting famous ?

Let's find out.

The most famous painting ever by Leonardo da Vinci - The Mona Lisa - the famous model of Leonardo Da Vinci

Mona Lisa - famous painting in the Louvre
Mona Lisa - famous painting in the Louvre

As I told you in the intro, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is a mysterious and intriguing painting. The woman painted by Leonardo is Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Mona is the contraction of the Italian word madonna which means lady.

The Mona Lisa can be seen in the Louvre in Paris. I've seen the Mona Lesa a while back, or seen maby is a big word. A saw a glimpse of it, because there where so many people standing in front of the painting I could hardly see the picture. And besides, the Mona Lisa was behind glass as well, which didn't make the "worshiping" easier....

The Mona Lisa is perhaps next to the last supper one of the most famous paintings he made. He used a very special technique to build up the atmosphere and the perspective in the painting. It's called sfumato, which means "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane." Leonardo used the technique to give the painting an openness. Not everything is painted with straight and hard cut borders. The borders of the forms are "finished" by the spectator. We create and finish the image in our heads. The shades and soft edges give suggestions of forms, it does not dictate them. And so the Mona Lisa becomes a mysterious woman, with a smile we interpreted ourselves.

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan - quality catalogue of Leonardo Da Vinci

The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer - The famous Dutch painting by Johannes Vermeer

The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer
The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer : Master of the Golden Age

Johannes Vermeer was a real master. As a true legend there are a lot of mysteries around Vermeer's work. For instance, there are no drawings made by Vermeer known!!!!! How is that possible ? Where are the studies for all those magnificent paintings. The girl with the pearl earring, the paintings with the musicians. The View of Delft, partly dark and hidden by the clouds, partly illuminated by the sun.

We know that Vermeer used a camera obscura. A box with a little whole in it, which works like a projector. But even then, he should have made composition sketches or life drawings.

The painting above is one of his master pieces called "The art of Painting". It's a painting full of hidden meanings and symbolism. The painter painting his muse. On the wall hangs a map of the independent Netherlands.

The painting was verry precious to Vermeer, he never sold it, although many wanted it. Even when he was in dept he did not sell it. And after his death in 1676. The painting was long thought to be from the hands of hiscontemporary Pieter de Hooch. De Hooch was more famous then Vermeer, who was forgotten for more then 2 decades....

Luckily Johannes Vermeer has been honorable recognised as the true artist behind the painting. Thanks to Thoré Bürger and Gustav Friedrich Waagen Vermeer is now considered as one of the most famous painters ever lived.

Vermeer: Master of Light - 17th-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer was a master of light and colors

THE MASTER OF LIGHT - JOHANNES VERMEER

Who is your Favorite Artist ? - A tough choice.

Who is your favorite artist ?

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Famous Painting of Terrace at night by Vincent van Gogh - Cafe at night by Vincent van Gogh

Famous Terrace at night by Vincent van Gogh
Famous Terrace at night by Vincent van Gogh

A stary stary night. One of my favorite paintings of Vincent van Gogh. (pronounce the G and the ch as a Ch of Loch Ness.)

I really love the painting, it's such a romantic setting. You can imagine yourself, sitting on a terrace in the summer. Drinking a good red wine or rosé.

Having a conversation and some laughs with your friends till the bar closes at 4 o'clock at night.

The intense blue sky with it's vibrant stars that reflects on the buildings. The yellowish painted bar is in a wonderful contrast with the sky, giving it a warm and pleasant feeling. A great use of colors and how to manipulate the feelings they express.

Letters of Vincent van Gogh - One of the most inspirational books written by an artist

The famous nightwatch by Rembrandt van Rijn - Famous painting by Rembrandt van Rijn

famous nightwatch by Rembrandt van Rijn
famous nightwatch by Rembrandt van Rijn

Cave paintings at Lasceaux France - early human creativity - the cave paintings at it's best

Cave paintings at Lasceaux France
Cave paintings at Lasceaux France

The Guernica by Pablo Picasso - The most famous modern art painting

The Guernica by Pablo Picasso
The Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Guernica (1950) - Guernica the Spanish town which became an inspiration for Pablo Picasso.

Multiple Award winning film: Dali Dimension - Decoding the Mind of a Genius

The famous melted watch painting by Dali - The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory
The Persistence of Memory

Melted time. When I first saw this painting of Salvador Dali in the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art), I was shocked. shocked because of its size... I had seen the picture of the painting "The Persistence of Memory so many times" in books and the image is so strong that I had suspected a huge canvas. But it is only 24 cm à 33 cm (9.5 in à 13 in) !!!! Strange how size works in the mind. Just like time.

The painting was painted in 1931 only 15 years after Einstein came with his General Theory of Relativity where he explains that space and time are connected with each other by the speed of light.

Time is fluid though, it runs like a river, never stopping (or you go with the speed of light.....). It's strange but funny too, to see the melted watches hanging on the dead branch. The painting is a sad one, everything is abandoned and left to rot, even the watches are neglected. It's an uncomfortable image, but strong and full of hidden meanings.

Las Meninas - Velazquez - Spanish famous painting

Las Meninas - Velazquez
Las Meninas - Velazquez

A Painters Painting - About a turning point in American art and culture.

The Scream by Edward Munch - Famous Paintings of modern art

The Scream by Munch
The Scream by Munch

The first abstract painting by Kandisky - One of the most famous abstract paintings

first abstract painting by kandinsky
first abstract painting by kandinsky

Wasily Kandinsky painted his first abstract watercolor 100 years ago in 1910. A good friend of Kandinsky was Arnold Schoenberg (help·info) , an Austrian composer and they both loved music and the visual arts. Kandinsky was inspired by the improvised music and often he gave his paintings titles like : Composition I or composition II, referring to a musical composition.

Secret Knowledge - Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

A Magnificent book about how the old masters used the most up to date technologies to create there master pieces.

An art book full of pictures that will open your eyes and give you a complete new perspective towards the ats.

Secret Knowledge (New and Expanded Edition): Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters
Secret Knowledge (New and Expanded Edition): Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

The science behind the art works, take a look in the studios and behind the scenes of painters like Vermeer Caravaggio, and Velázquez.

 

Welcome to This Little Art Corner.

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    • PeterStip profile image
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      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @othellos: Thank you Othellos.

      It's difficult to make such a list and I could easily put 50 more on the list but I had to make restrictions. And you have personal taste and artworks that are famous. Two different things. Great you enjoyed the lanes.

    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      Excellent selection of paintings. I like modern art and you have just included the ones I like the most. Really enjoyed your lens. I'll be back to study more.