Wondering about top famous artists paintings? What are the possible inspirations behind the most beautiful paintings in the world? Here is a list of facts about 12 captivating famous artists’ paintings, containing Van Gogh, Picasso to Dali, Monet, and more; keep reading on to know more.
1. Famous Artists Paintings: The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
We cannot talk about famous artists paintings without mentioning Vincent Van Gogh and his ‘Starry Nights.’ We are all familiar with Vincent Van Gogh through his masterpiece ‘The Starry Night,’ one of the most astonishing art history creations. Here are few lesser-known facts about this work.
- The view in this painting is in actuality Van Gogh’s view from Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum; he checked himself into the asylum in winter 1888 after facing a mental breakdown.
- This might be a little shocking, but Van Gogh thought that ‘The Starry Night’ is a failure. In a letter to Theo, he wrote that the only good things about the painting are the mountains, the orchard, the wheat field, the olive trees with blue hills and the entrance and the portrait, and nothing else.
- UCLA art historian Albert Boime in the year 1985, compared Starry Night with the sky that would have appeared on June 19, 1889. The similarities were striking, and Van Gogh’s reference to the sky was ‘morning star,’ but in reality, he painted ‘Venus.’
- The Starry Night has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern art since 1941.
2. Famous Artists Paintings: The Night Watch by Rembrandt Van Rijn
Here are a few facts about Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Night Watch, arguably the greatest portrait of the Dutch Baroque age.
- This masterpiece was not set at night; rather it was set during the daytime. The dark background that is seen in this painting is, in actuality, a varnish that transformed dark with age and dirt, like most of the famous artists’ paintings.
- The artist may have a cameo in his art.
- The masterpiece is about 12 feet by 14 feet.
- The present painting is an edited version. After seventy-three years of its making, the massive painting was cut for better accommodation in Amsterdam’s town hall. In the edited version, the balustrade, two figures from the left side, the edge of the step, and the top of the arch were lost. Due to Gerrit Lundens ‘s soft copy of The Night Watch, we get a distinct idea of the original work.
3. Famous Artists Paintings: Guernica by Pablo Picasso
Here are few facts about Pablo Picasso‘s Guernica, one of the most famous artists’ paintings
- If you look closely, you will notice that the protagonists of Guernica are women, perhaps because women represent life and pain. A woman screaming with her dead child in her arms shows the pain, and in another painting, a woman holding a lamp signifies hope.
- Ironically, in the year 1990, this anti-fascist art was used as a recruitment advertisement by the Germans.
- Pablo Picasso refused to give any explanation on the strong symbolism present in Guernica.
4. Famous Artists Paintings: The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
Here are few facts about the most recognizable work of Salvador Dalì –
- The portrait measures about 9.5 inches by 13 inches.
- Mount Pani and Cape Creus influenced the landscape.
- Sigmund Freud did not admire the surrealists, but Salvador was an exception.
- This portrait has other names such as The Persistence of Time, Droopy Watches, Soft Watches, and Melting Clocks.
- This oil-on-canvas painting has been a reference in various TV shows like The Simpsons, Doctor Who, Sesame Street, and many more.
5. Famous Artists Paintings: Water Lilies by Claude Monet
How can we talk about famous artists’ paintings and not include Claude Monet? Here are few facts about Monet’s Water Lilies –
- Water Lilies is a series of paintings, not a single portrait.
- Monet rented a house in Giverny to plant water lilies and indulge himself in gardening. He imported water lilies from South America and Egypt to make his garden more ethereal. In 1899, he even built a Japanese-style bridge across his pond of lilies. Monet painted the pond with the bridge 17 times that year, with different weather and lighting.
- Monet destroyed 15 water lilies portrait in 1908 before being displayed at Paris’s Durand-Ruel Gallery.
- The artist celebrated the end of the First World War by gifting a water lily painting to France.
6. Famous Artists Paintings: The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch
Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch is renowned for his The Garden of Earthly Delights, a painting filled with symbolism. Here are few facts of this portrait –
- This portrait depicts human experience from left to right, with heaven, the garden of earthly delights, and hell, respectively.
- Some art historians believe the garden of earthly delights depicts human beings gone insane for sin with the nude figures and fruits and flowers representing intimacy.
- The sequence also interprets John Milton‘s Paradise Lost.
- Bosch perhaps has a cameo in this portrait.
7. Famous Artists Paintings: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper
Here are few facts about Edward Hopper‘s Nighthawks, originally named Night Hawks –
- This portrait became a quick classic. According to the Art Institute of Chicago director, Daniel Catton Rich, who bought this portrait, Nighthawks was ‘fine as Homer’- referred to the 19th-century painter.
- The portrait measures about 2.75 feet by 5 feet.
- The artist and his wife, Josephine Hopper, were models for this masterpiece.
- This portrait is perhaps influenced by Ernest Hemingway‘s short story ‘The Killers’ and Van Gogh’s Café at Night.
- Hopper gave an example of feeling lonesome in between people with the individual sitting in their own space without any touch and entirely isolated from the outside world.
- The restaurant is present in Greenwich Avenue, New York City.
8. Famous Artists Paintings: The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci
Here are a few facts about Leonardo da Vinci‘s ‘The Last Supper, one of the most famous artists’ paintings other than Mona Lisa –
- The portrait measures about 15 feet by 29 feet.
- The key symbol of this painting would be the Eucharist’s birth, with Christ reaching for the glass of wine and bread.
- The Last Supper is located in Milan, Italy.
- Every apostle’s face is based on a real-life character, and for Judas, Da Vinci searched the Milan prisons.
- The spilled salt placed before Judas could interpret his betrayal. If it’s an eel, the fish symbolizes faith in Jesus, but if it’s a herring, then it represents a nonbeliever.
9. Famous Artists Paintings: The Scream by Edvard Munch
Here are a few facts about Edvard Munch‘s The Scream –
- The Scream is a quartet.
- The original name was The Scream of Nature.
- This portrait could also be about suicide since the artist had a fresh failed love; he was broke and worried about developing schizophrenia. The bridge could be a symbol of wanting to kill oneself.
- The portrait could be an influence from the mummified figure of a Chachapoyas warrior.
10. Famous Artists Paintings: The Flower Carrier by Diego Rivera
Here are a few facts about Mexican artist Diego Rivera‘s The Flower Carrier –
- Diego captured the struggle of a Mexican worker in post-revolution.
- Flower vendors were one of the most famous subjects of Rivera.
- By painting the woman, the artist is showing the good heart of common people.
- The flowers are the key – they are used to decorate wealthy lifestyles. It is a depiction of how the upper class is affecting the lower class.
11. Famous Artists Paintings: Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Here are few facts about Jean Aguste Dominique Ingres‘ Grande Odalisque –
- The word ‘odalisque’ is a Turkish term meaning ‘harem concubine.’
- This portrait is a commissioned work by Queen Caroline Murat, Napoleon’s sister.
- This portrait could be seen as a shift of the artists towards Romanticism from Neoclassical art.
- This painting of the nude woman is the artists’ second major work after Valpincon Bather.
- The figure was painted with a distorted pelvis, one arm shorter than the other, five extra vertebrates, and the spine’s curvature.
12. Famous Artists Paintings: The Portrait of Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
How can we talk about famous artists paintings and exclude The Creation of Adam? Here are a few facts about one of the most famous paintings by Michelangelo –
- The portrait depicts God giving life to Adam, how alike God and man are during creation, and how man and God are on different levels.
- The painting is a part of the ceiling work at the Sistine Chapel, Vatican by Michelangelo. This ceiling is among the most beautiful works of art.
- It took four years to complete.
- This portrait is one of the most religious paintings out there.
- Some art critics assume that the one in the left hand of God is Eve.