Nowadays, virtually anything can be thrown together and passed of as ‘modern art’. Unfortunately, a lot of this is questionable in its quality and has led people to pine for artistic eras before their time when art was simpler and a good painting could really and truly take your breath away. In this article we would like to hark back to these bygone days and take a look at some of the most famous paintings of all time and ask why these particular pieces of art have gone down in history.
Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci
Of course, the Mona Lisa has to be the first painting on this list simply because it is probably the only painting in existence that pretty much everyone in the world has heard of. But why is it so famous? When you go to the Louvre to see this painting, it might actually seem a little under-whelming given the 20-foot artistic masterpiece on the wall opposite. It seems that the thing that has caused this painting to have such an extensive global reputation is the fact that no-one is quite sure why she is smiling. What do you think?
The Scream – Edvard Munch
Simultaneously haunting and beautiful, The Scream, by renowned Norwegian painter Munch, has been copied and displayed millions of times around the world, giving it a well-deserved international reputation. Crudely designed using harsh colours, the painting clearly illustrates the mental state of the artist – a state of anxiety and neurosis to which many of us can relate.
Guernica – Pablo Picasso
This depressing but fascinating painting uses black, white and grey to starkly show the devastating effects of the German and Italian bombing campaign on Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The piece drew global attention to the horrors of what was going on in Europe at the hands of Nazis and fascists and has remained an incredibly important political statement and work of art ever since.
The Starry Night – Vincent Van Gogh
This beautiful masterpiece can be found in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, New York and is a wonderful expression of the Dutch painter’s emotions and observations. The turbulent nature of the starry sky has drawn great curiosity from viewers who see this as an insight into the inner turmoil of Van Gogh who is best-known for cutting off his own ear.
The Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli
One of the world’s greatest classics, this painting dates all the way back to the 1480s and has been replicated more times than you could possibly imagine. There is no single interpretation of the painting that has been universally agreed upon but generally it is thought that the imagery that is displayed on the canvas represents divine love. Whatever you think it means, there is no denying that this is a truly stunning piece of art.