“Art is not my cup of tea”, “I don’t really understand art a lot”, and “It’s just scribbled lines, that’s all”. We have all said this to someone at some point of time or we have heard someone say this at some point of time. I used to be no different when it came to art and would run away at the slightest mention of art. But one truly needs to see a magnificent piece of art in all its might in the real life to know that art is not as complex as it seems and it can mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people. Art is just an expression. Paintings are too, a way for the painters to express their deepest and most passionate feelings into a canvas. None of the painting ever made is as simple as it looks and each painting has a story behind it that longs to come out. And there have been some paintings in the world whose stories may be staring at us right in the face but we seem to miss it. These are the paintings that went on to become the most famous paintings in the world. A certain charm and enigma behind each of these paintings is what makes one so curious about them. So here is the list of the top 10 paintings in the world –
1. Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
One can only wonder what a great painter Da Vinci was if two of his paintings have come in the top 3 of this list. Mona Lisa was painted in between the years 1503 and 1519 during the Renaissance in Florence, Italy. It is a portrait of Mona Lisa, who belonged to a wealthy family in Florence. There have been many theories and mysteries surrounding this painting but the fact remains that this work of art is a masterpiece like no other. Today, it has a million visitors every year in The Louvre, Paris, where Mona Lisa is displayed, intriguing more and more people every day. If one has an opportunity to do so, one must visit these places and see these paintings in real life to know their real beauty.
2. The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
One never understands the true value of something until it is gone forever. This line stands true for the Dutch genius Vincent Van Gogh who, in his entire lifetime sold only one painting. The Starry Night was painted by Van Gogh in the year 1889. It depicts the night over the village of Saint Remy with a beautiful swirling sky, as seen from the asylum in the north. The way the colors in this painting have mixed and blended with each other is a marvel that could be reproduced by few others. One often glorifies days and mornings but Van Gogh has aptly brought out the beauty of the ever so mysterious nights. This painting is on permanent display at Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.
3. The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
There must be no man who has not heard or read about the great Leonardo da Vinci, a man who was gifted in every way possible. A masterpiece that was painted by Leonardo da Vinci was the mural painting on the wall of the dining hall of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan is The Last Supper. The painting depicts the Last Supper of Jesus Christ when he was believed to have told his two Apostles that one of them would betray him. Leonardo da Vinci is believed to not have worked on this painting continuously. He started in 1495 and completed it in 1498. This is a work of genius in its true sense.
4. Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
Painting on a canvas is not an easy task as it is but Michelangelo took a step further and anted the painters of the world by producing one of the most beautiful paintings in the world on the walls and ceilings of a building. The ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Vatican, Rome, was painted by Michelangelo between the years 1508 and 1512. The huge wall is decorated with the nine scenes from the Book of Genesis and the main masterpiece is where God is breathing in life into Adam, the first man on the earth. The extravagant features of this painting make it one of the most famous ones in the world.
5. The Scream by Edvard Munch
Colors come alive in the most famous painting that Edvard Munch has painted. German Expressionist Edvard Munch painted The Scream sometime between 1893 and 1910. He used both paints and pastels on cardboard to give this painting an effect like no other. The painting is of a man who seems to be screaming in agonizing pain whilst a dramatic orange sky is painted in the background. It is said that Munch painted this when he once saw a blood red sky in the evening which showed him the might of nature. It is displayed in the National Gallery, Oslo, Norway.
6. The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
Probably the most ponder-inducing and the most intriguing painting in the world, The Persistence of Memory is one of the most famous paintings in the world today. Painted in 1931 by the Spanish genius Salvador Dali, this painting is supposedly the inspiration for Einstein’s famous Theory of Relativity. The painting is understood and deduced in many ways by many people but the most famous theory states this painting makes one wonder how they have spent their time in their lives. This painting is on display at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, USA.
7. Girl With A Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
Famously touted as the “Dutch Monalisa” or the “Monalisa of the North” this famous painting by Johannes Vermeer is one of the best in the world. Painted by Vermeer around 1665, this painting is a tronie, or what is known as not a full portrait. The painting solely depicts a young girl wearing a pearl earring but the details of the painting and the expressive eyes of the girl have left most art-lovers baffled by this brilliant piece of art. Today, this painting is stationed at Mauritshuis Gallery in The Hague, Netherlands.
8. The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn
The Dutch are known to be exceptionally good at art and Rembrandt proves it just right. The Night Watch is a painting by Rembrandt that was completed in 1642. The painting depicts two city guards, Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ryutenburch leading what seems like an army of people out. The painting is very detailed with the low light of the night shown in a surreal manner. The painting sits in the Rembrandt Museum in Amsterdam today and is one of the most famous paintings in the world.
9. Water Lilies by Claude Monet
The French painted Monet is known throughout the world. Water Lilies or Nymphea is a series of painting that were made by Monet between 1840 and 1926. It is a series of 250 oil paintings in which Monet has painted his own garden of flowers in Giverny. These gardens are known to be the inspiration behind a lot of Monet’s paintings. The paintings look simple but the amount of detail that went into every painting is incredible and one must also know that Monet painted most of these paintings while he was suffering from cataract. These are at display in museums all around the world.
10. Guernica by Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso was a painter like no other and he knew exactly well how to express his emotions in a beautiful way. Guernica was painted by Picasso in the year 1937 in the city of art, Paris. This painting is based on the lives and the tragedies of the people who were a part of the Spanish Civil War. The painting particularly displays the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica, from where the painting gets its name, by the German bombers. The painting is currently at display at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.