When it comes to the art world, there are iconic pieces that have survived generations at the top of the art industry’s affections. What are some of the most iconic paintings in our history? We’re about to find out
Some of the world’s most iconic paintings date back over 40,000 years. Somehow, these masterpieces have survived wars, famine, plague, and revolutions. In some ways, that may be part of what makes them so iconic.
So, here are some of the most iconic paintings in art history.
Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci
Who hasn’t seen the Mona Lisa? The chances are that number is incredibly low. Da Vinci worked on this mysterious portrait from 1503 to 1517 and probably had no idea what impact it would make on the art world. From the question of what is behind that simple smirk to why he painted her in the first place, Mona Lisa is one of the most visited paintings in the Lourve for a reason.
The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli
Initially painted for Lorenzo de Medici, this painting was one of the first non-religious nude pieces since antiquity. The Venus has survived much in its lifetime (it was started in 1484), including narrowly escaping the incinerator when Savonarola, a Dominican monk, ordered for it to be burned along with several other books, works of art, and pieces of history. We, for one, are incredibly glad she survived.
Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, James Abbott McNeill
This painting, featuring painter Whistler’s mother, is one of the more modern pieces on her list, having been completed in 1871. It stands out for its rigid format and right angles, including the composition of his mother in the portrait itself. It’s dark, fitting with the times, and was a departure from the art that came before it.
The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh
The Starry Night is another painting that many of us saw even in our childhood. Created during a tumultuous time in the painter’s life, it was done at the Saint-Remy asylum where he had recently committed himself. Given that, it would seem that much of what was going on in his mind spilled out into the painting itself, within the swirls and waves of the strokes. One thing is sure, van Gogh was fearless when it came to translating his experiences into his art.
The Arnolfini Portrait, Jan van Eyck
Painted in 1434, Eyck’s use of perspective was something new for his time. The depiction of an Italian Merchant and his supposed wife was rumored to have been painted as part of a marriage contract. It’s a full-length, massive piece that is both imposing in stature and depth. One of the reasons it remains so popular all these years later is because of the 3D like way viewers feel as if they could step into it. Needless to say, Eyck was well before his time.
These are just a few of the iconic paintings that top lists across the art history world. Since art is subjective to so many people, we’re sure your list differs in several ways. Which paintings top your list?