In this article, we have put together the most famous paintings you should know about. If you are also an art lover, let’s begin reading and learn more about these famous paintings.
Most Famous Paintings You Should Know
Arnolfini Portrait painting by Jan van Eyck
This painting of the artist is also a first in terms of history. This painting is a kind of “marriage certificate” because it depicts the moment of marriage. The detail that makes the work so important is the mirror. The mirror on the wall was used to deepen the moment with an amazing flow technique. When you look carefully at the mirror, you can see that Van Eyck is also in the picture. The painter added a different dimension to the art of painting by including himself in the moment. Continue reading to see other paintings you should know.
The Garden of Earthly Delights (Tuin der lusten) triptych by Hieronymus Bosch
In this work, the artist presents the joyous moments of naked people that he portrayed as if breaking all the rules in a fantastic story. The painting draws attention to people who enjoy the blessings of the world on the one hand, and those who are punished for their sins on the other. The painting also emphasizes the thoughts of nightmare and death prevalent in medieval people. Below are additional paintings you should know.
The Birth of Venus painting by Sandro Botticelli
The artist climbed the upper steps in his career with his work “The Birth of Venus” that he made in 1485. The artwork depicts the moment when the goddess Venus was born from a seashell and enchanted those around her with her naked beauty. Botticelli’s portrayal of Venus is somewhat erotic, unlike other artists. It is noteworthy that he could not completely cover his chest and genitals. This form of closure was later imitated by many sculptors. It is known that some of the other works of the artist were burned, but this work, which is clearly seen to have a pagan effect despite being prohibited, was not touched. Let’s keep reading to see other paintings you should know.
Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci
The secret of both the happy and sad expression on the face of the Mona Lisa, made between 1503-1506, has not been fully resolved even today. Lisa Gherardini, who appears sitting in the portrait, is depicted with the sfumoto technique (the shading method that provides smooth transitions between colors and tones). This technique was used by da Vinci for the first time. Read below for more paintings you should know.
The School of Athens fresco by Raphael
Raffaello depicts ancient Greek philosophers in the fresco “The School of Athens”, one of the most important work of his career. Plato, Aristotle and Socrates are right in the middle. In the work in which the great arguments of philosophy from the world of ideas to absolute thought are hidden, the painter has proven his age to the art environment. More paintings you should know.
The Creation of Adam fresco painting by Michelangelo
“The Creation of Adam”, one of the most important works of Michelangelo, who defines himself as a sculptor, is about the great separation in the creation myth and the story of God and Adam, who are only as close to each other but as far apart. In the scene in which God breathe life into Adam in Christianity, the index fingers touching each other refer to God’s creation of Adam from his own image.
The Night Watch painting by Rembrandt
The most important feature of the painting, which depicts the night patrol of the city guards under the command of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenbuch, is that a mysterious atmosphere is created thanks to the light games. In the painting, all the figures are perceived as if they are alive, thanks to the skillful use of light-shadow contrast, one of the most important features of the Baroque style, by the painter. Continue reading to see other paintings you should know.
Girl with a Pearl Earring painting by Johannes Vermeer
The innocence of the young girl in the painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, which is called “Mona Lisa of the North”, and the impressiveness in her looks increased the success of the artist. While the main object of the painting is the pearl earring, the blue and yellow veil that is not missing in the paintings of the painter draws attention. See additional paintings you should know below. Let’s continue reading.
The Swing painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
In his paintings, he dealt with contemporary themes such as eroticism, distortions in the social order, picture of the moment or deception. His most important painting, ‘The Swing’, tells of the moment when a self-satisfied man looks at the hidden thing between the legs of a young girl swinging on a swing. In the work, Fragonard refers to the fact that the women of that period, despite wearing fluffy dresses, did not use underwear and attached men to themselves. Paintings you should know.
The Third of May 1808 painting by Francisco Goya
Goya painted his work in memory of the Spaniards who resisted Napoleon’s soldiers and were helpless during the French occupation of Madrid in 1808. The painting is important because it sheds light on history by depicting a bloody war. Below are additional famous & popular paintings you should know.
The Turkish Bath painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
The artist drew attention with his painting “The Turkish Bath”, which contributed to Orientalism. Although it has never been found in Ottoman lands, the bathhouse, full of naked women depicted with such skill, was applauded by some circles and criticized negatively by others. Le Figaro Magazine declared the work in which 25 women made naked baths as “the most erotic painting of the 19th century”. More paintings you should know.
Vase with Twelve Sunflowers painting by Vincent van Gogh
“Vase with Twelve Sunflowers”, one of the artist’s most famous paintings, got full marks from the art lovers with its bright yellow color and vividness as if it would come off the canvas immediately. The 12 sunflowers appearing in the vase were transferred to the canvas as a reflection of the painter in his inner world rather than reality. It is observed that the painter adds vitality to sunflowers with fluid brush strokes in front of a plain background. Paintings you should know.
The Scream painting by Edvard Munch
‘The Scream’ draws attention with its perfection in the expression it gives to a scared, hopeless and pessimistic person. In the work, which is also known as the scream of nature, the painter portrays the expression of the person leaning on the banisters during the sunset when he hears the sound of nature.
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon painting by Pablo Picasso
One of the most striking paintings of Pablo Picasso, known as the artist with the widest vision of the 20th century, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” symbolizes the beginning of cubism and modern art. All the rules of the representation of the human face are broken in this table. The work, in which the symmetry of the face is denied, carries traces of archaic and primitive art. Continue reading to see other paintings you should know.
The Kiss painting by Gustav Klimt
‘The Kiss’ is a depiction of a couple kissing as if they were passing each other somewhere outside of the moment and space. The lines and decorative ornaments, which Klimt cannot give up, draw attention in the painting. Drawing attention to the difference in the world of men and women, the painter depicts the woman in the flowers like a spring, while reflecting the man with harder lines and geometric patterns. The more fragile and soft the woman, the harder and clearer the man is.
Black Square painting by Kazimir Malevich
In the artist’s impressive painting called “Black Square”, the black square is the intuition, and the white space is the space beyond it. Malevich interpreted this picture, known as the official of nothing, not a thing, as ‘zero form’ for the same period. Let’s keep reading to see other paintings you should know.
The Persistence of Memory painting by Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dali is one of the important representatives of surrealism. During his life, Dali painted more than 1,500 paintings and dozens of statues. One of the artist’s most famous paintings, “The Persistence of Memory” uses time and memory in the symbolism of melting pocket watches. The work is an important example of Dali’s understanding of “softness” and “hardness”. Inspired by the Camembert cheese melting in the heat of an August sun, the work he works with oil paint protests the unchangeable and rigid conception of time. Continue reading to see other paintings you should know.
The Two Fridas painting by Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo, who was seriously injured in a heavy traffic accident at the age of 15, spent the rest of her life between hospitals and surgeries. Almost every painting of Frida was inspired by the pain she had suffered throughout her life. She reflected the difficulties that women face in society and the image of women under male domination. Keep reading to see more paintings you should know.
Nighthawks painting by Edward Hopper
Much of the loneliness of everyday American life appeared in the artist’s works. Bars, restaurants and even gas stations became Hopper’s focus. “Nighthawks” painting, inspired by a restaurant in Manhattan, is one of the important works of American painting history. The painting depicts three customers who stand close to each other but never speak, despite the city sleeping late at night. In the picture made after the famous Pearl Harbor attack, the sailor hat on the waiter’s head refers to this grave event. The disconnection and pessimism of three people, who have never spoken to each other, are considered to be the psychological reflection of the American society of the time.
Paul Gauguin, who spent most of his life in Tahiti, his successful painting “Nave Nave Moe” in 1894, tells about the purest form of two young Tahitian girls in the middle of the day. The vibrant colors he uses and the naturalness of the painting rivets the painter’s success. In the work of the painter who uses synthetic techniques, the two girls stay away from composition, like stickers.
Guernica painting by Pablo Picasso
Guernica is a monumental painting of 7.76 m wide and 3.49 m high, made by Pablo Picasso in 1937, describing the bombing of 28 bombers of Nazi Germany on April 26, 1937, on the Spanish city of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. During the attack, 250 to 1,600 people were killed and many more were injured. This is may be the most important one out of all other paintings you should know list.
The Spanish government ordered Pablo Picasso a large mural to be displayed in the section reserved for Spain of the Art and Techniques in Modern Life exhibition at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris. Picasso, affected by the air strike at that time, completed this mural within 15 days of the attack. The painting was exhibited and appreciated in various countries as part of a small world tour. Thus, the interest of other countries in the civil war in Spain was drawn. Guernica is a summary of war tragedies and the painful effects of war on individuals. Over time, the painting has become a reminder of the tragedies caused by war, and a symbol of anti-war and pro-peace ideas.
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Hope you like this article with the most famous paintings you should know. We have a good news that we are planning to create an art section which will be a part of Voucherix with art articles to be published on a regular-basis. Keep an eye on our blog for more paintings you should know as well as other art subjects.