15 Most Famous Oil Paintings
There is a countless amount of art in the world but not every piece of work gets the same amount of attention. There are some paintings that stand out and earn a strong foothold in art history. These 15 paintings have made their mark as some of the most popular art that the world currently has to offer.
1. Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh
Starry Night is easily one of the most popular paintings in the world, not just in Vincent Van Gogh’s repertoire. The painting depicts the view that Van Gogh had from his window during his stay at the Saint-Remy-de-Provence asylum. It shows the night sky just before daybreak.
2. The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer
The Girl with the Pearl Earring is one of the most mysterious pieces in art history. No one knows for sure who the girl is, but she doesn’t seem to be the real focal point of the painting either. Instead, the focus is on the clothes she’s wearing.
3. The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci
The Last Supper depicts the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before he was ultimately betrayed by Judas Iscariot and crucified. Its popularity is so broad that it’s often referenced even outside of religious settings.
4. Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is another gorgeous painting that has drawn viewers in with mystery over the centuries. Not only is is a mystery who the woman in the painting is, but her sly smile has inspired ample conversation.
5. Lady Godiva, John Maler Collier
Lady Godiva is one of many depictions of Godiva, Countess of Mercia. She was the subject of a legend in which she rode naked on horseback with only her long hair covering her as she rode through Coventry. While the myth has been mostly debunked, the art born from the story remains popular for its haunting beauty.
6. The Wanderer Above the Mists, Caspar David Friedrich
The Wanderer Above the Mists has a contemplative aura as well as an impressive and realistic technique. It embodies the Romanticism themes of man and nature by showing the subject surveying the impressive view before him.
7. Creation of Adam, Michelangelo Buonarroti
The Creation of Adam is a painting by Renaissance painter Michelangelo and it makes up only part of the impressive work that covers the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The painting steps all the way back to Genesis and aims to document God’s creation of man.
8. The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse
The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse takes inspiration from Arthurian legend and the works of Lord Alfred Tennyson. It shows the final moments of the character Lady Elaine of Astolat. She sailed down a river and died of a broken heart due to an unrequited romance with Sir Lancelot.
9. Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli
The Birth of Venus depicts the origin myth of Venus, the Romanized version of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. The goddess is birthed from the sea as a fully-grown woman. The painting is estimated to have been completed in the 1480s.
10. A Sunday Afternoon On the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat
Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon On the Island of La Grande Jatte is a colorful painting featuring a number of subjects. The business of this island is made more impressive by the artist’s use of Pointillism.
11. Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze
This painting is especially popular in the United States as it shows one of the most heroic moments of the Founding Fathers. It’s also popular because it shows the grittier, war-oriented side of the fight for Independence rather than the official, bureaucratic tasks.
12. The Scream, Edvard Munch
The Scream is one of the most famous horror-themed paintings in the world. It was created by the Expressionist artist Edvard Munch in 1893. The painting shows an autobiographical experience of the artist when he heard a scream while on a walk.
13. The Nightwatch, Rembrandt van Rijn
Rembrandt van Rijn has a distinctly realistic style that’s on full display in The Nightwatch. With the blend of dramatic colors and distinct expressions, the painting is striking, to say the least. It’s now considered one of the most famous paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.
14. Giant Redwood Trees of California, Albert Bierstadt
There have been plenty of landscape paintings over the centuries and the Giant Redwood Trees of California by Albert Bierstadt stands out as one of the most recognizable. This is partially due to the subject matter of the massive and ancient California Redwoods.
15. Napoleon Crossing the Alps, Jaques Louis David
Napoleon Crossing the Alps is striking not only because of the technical artistry used but for the feelings emitting from the artwork. Positioning choices such as the bucking horse, the sweeping cape, and the pointing finger all portray strength and victory.
All of these paintings are incredibly popular with some already proven to withstand generations of viewers. This has made them some of the most sought after reproductions as well to decorate offices, homes, and even schools.