25 Most Famous Paintings in the World

Luncheon Of The Boating Party

There were millions of paintings are drawn on a daily basis but there are only a few that will create impressions in our soul. The artists are so talented that they can show the feelings of the whole world in one picture. The only thing you have to do is to analyze and feel the impressions of the paintings. There are many paintings are drawn in the world that is critically acclaimed and became famous throughout the world. Paintings are being drawn since the ancient time and it is still unexplored how the people are drawings such paintings so perfectly though they don’t have appropriate tools at that time.

Let me give you an example. I have written about the mysteries of the world in that we have covered Nazca lines. Nazca lines are located in the Nazca desert of southern Peru. There were many figures that are drawn related to spiders, hummingbirds, monkeys, fish, and orcas. The mystery is how people of Nazca culture can do such magnificent artwork. The simple reason is that they have nothing to view their ability from the air. So, here we are listing the top 20 most famous paintings in the world.

Famous Paintings In The World

1. Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It is a portrait of women drawn by an Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is one of the most famous works of art. Mona Lisa is the most written, most visited and the most acclaimed famous painting in the world. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • It is believed that the portrait belongs to Lisa Gherardini. She is the wife of Francesco Del Giocondo. It is believed that the portrait has been painted between 1503 and 1506.
  • It has been acquired by King Francis I of France and it now belongs to the French Republic.
  • The painting has been placed in the Louvre Museum of Paris since 1797. Six million people annually came to the museum to see the beautiful painting.
  • The expression of the painting seems mysterious. The expression is a composition and exists in many forms. This is one of the unique qualities of him the painting.
  • The original name of Mona Lisa was Monna Lisa, however, spelling mistakes made it the Mona Lisa and in Italian, it means Monna means Madonna that means ‘My lady’.
  • There are three previous layers of the painting that depict her in different poses.
  • The painting is literally priceless and hence it cannot be insured for any amount of money.

Related: 10 Most Beautiful Self Portraits By Famous Artists

Mona Lisa

2. Starry Night

Starry Nights are also one of the most famous paintings in the world. It has been painted by Vincent van Gogh. Although, he has painted many paintings this one is considered to be a masterpiece. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • It was painted in 1889 and the paintings depict the view from his room at the sanitarium where he lives at that time. There are many things that are added from his memory virtualization that leads to a village.
  • The painting has been placed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City since 1941. It has been acquired by Lillie P. Bliss Bequest.
  • It is one of the 2,000 oil on canvas paintings that has been drawn by one of the most popular artists of history.
  • Vincent van Gogh basically uses watercolors, drawings, and sketches which became in demand after his death. There is a famous quote from him which says “Painters understand nature and love it, and teach us to see.” If you are looking for high-quality watercolor paint, visit Mrs King’s website for more information.
  • Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo stating his inspiration for The Starry Night “This morning I saw the countryside from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,”
  • The Starry Night is among the most popular and famous paintings in the world.
  • The painting states an inner, subjective expression of van Gogh’s response to nature.

Also Read: 10 Incredible Ancient Theaters Around The World

Starry Night

3. The Last Supper

It is one of the most famous paintings of the 15th century and it is painted by none other than Leonardo da Vinci. It has not been placed in any museum rather it is covering the back wall of the dining hall at Santa Maria Delle Grazie located in Milan. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • The painting is mainly depicting the Last Supper of Jesus along with his disciples. This has been told by the Gospel of John.
  • Leonardo has depicted the situation when Jesus told his disciples that one would betray him. There are 12 Disciples in the painting.
  • There is very little painting that is left today. The facts responsible are environmental and intentional damage. Also, the method used in creating is one of the reasons.
  • There are many methods used in restoring the picture and the last one being completed in 1999.
  • Apart from one of the famous paintings in the world, it is also one of the most studied, scrutinized, and satirized paintings in the world.
  • The painting is remembered for two primary reasons, Firstly, Christ says to his apostles “One of you will betray me,” and the apostles react, each according to his own personality. Referring to the Gospels, Leonardo depicts Philip asking “Lord, is it I?” Christ replies, “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me” (Matthew 26) and secondly, Leonardo also simultaneously depicts Christ blessing the bread and saying to the apostles “Take, eat; this is my body” and blessing the wine and saying “Drink from it all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26).
  • These words are the founding moment of the sacrament of the Eucharist that says the miraculous transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

The Last Supper

4. Guernica

The painting has been inspired by the bombing of Guernica, Spain. During the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso has completed one of the most famous paintings of the world named Guernica in 1937. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • The painting has been commissioned by the Spanish government as the suffering of the war but later it became the symbol of peace.
  • Pablo Picasso uses the palette of multi-colors namely grey, black, and white. It is considered to be one of the finest anti-war paintings in the history of the world.
  • The paintings mainly depict the violence, chaos, and suffering of the people.
  • It is permanently displayed in the Museo Reina Sofia Museum of Spain.
  • The oil painting has been created on canvas measuring 11 feet tall by 25.6 feet wide and located in Spain’s national museum in Madrid.
  • The tongues of the grieving woman, the bull, and the horse are in the shape of daggers that depicts screaming.
  • The person with arms on the far right of the painting extended in sheer terror is trapped by fire from below and above.


5. The Creation of Adam

The Creation of Adam was painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. It is placed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel of Vatican City. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • The painting basically depicts the Biblical creation narrative from the Book of Genesis. It displays how God gives life to Adam, the first man.
  • The touching hands between God and Adam depict the symbol of Humanity.
  • It is one of the most religious paintings of all time along with Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.
  • The painting is just one of the nine scenes from the Book of Genesis.
  • The part of the image touching the hands of God and Adam has become iconic of humanity.
  • The Creation of Adam is predicted to depict the excerpt from Genesis that stated, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him.”


6. The Scream

It has been painted by the Edvard Munch in 1893. He is one of the most famous painters of his time. He used only oil and pastel on cardboard in order to draw his most famous piece. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • The painting looks very similar to the host from the Tales from the Crypt.
  • It basically depicts the scream of nature. The painting shows the manifesting and suffering expression against a landscape. The orange sky can be seen in the background.
  • The Scream was always on the target of the high-profile art thefts and eventually, one of the versions of the painting was stolen from the National Gallery. It has been recovered several months later.
  • There are two paintings stolen from the Munch Museum named The Scream and Madonna and they both have been recovered two years later.
  • Edvard Munch pronounced MOONK was born in Ekely, Norway on December 12, 1863. He was the son of a military doctor and was an Expressionist who loves to expresses strong feelings with the help of colours and bold brush.
  • According to Edvard Munch, the inspiration for this painting was drawn from a past event. One of the most famous paintings is a result of the anxiety and fear he felt on a day while walking with two friends.
  • “The flaming clouds hung like blood ” Edvard Munch.

The Scream

7. Persistence of Memory

It was painted by the Spanish artist Salvador Dali in 1931. It is considered one of the finest artworks or you can say one of the most famous paintings around the globe. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • The basic idea of the painting is to make people think of their way of life and also the way they spend their time.
  • It is also believed that the painting was inspired by Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
  • It was first shown at Julien Levy Gallery in 1932. It is now a collection of the Museum of Modern Art located in New York City since 1934.
  • There are many titles given to the painting like ‘The Soft Watches’ or ‘The Melting Watches’.
  • The painting has been carved on an oil canvas painting measures only 24 cm x 33 cm (9 1/2” x 13″).
  • This painting made the Dali world-famous when he was 28 years old.
  • One of the most famous paintings in the world have started a considerable academic debate when scholars interpret it because some critics believe the melting watches in the piece are a response to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, however, critic Dawn Ades put it, “the soft watches are an unconscious symbol of the relativity of space and time.”

8. Three Musicians

Three Musicians will look like a college at first glance but it actually an oil painting. It was painted by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso in 1921. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • Pablo Picasso actually painted two similar paintings and they both mutually referred to as Three Musicians.
  • One of the paintings placed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the other one found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  • Pablo Picasso completed the painting in Fontainebleau near Paris.
  • The musicians on the left side of the paintings is masked Pierrot that is a classic figure often used in Italian comic theatre.
  • The musician in the middle of the painting depicts the brightest garb that brings light to the center of the piece.

9. Girl with A Pearl Earring

It is also called “the Dutch Mona Lisa” and “Mona Lisa of the North” by many people. It was painted by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer in 1665. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • It is an oil painting that shows a girl with a headscarf and a pearl earring.
  • It is on display in the Mauritshuis Gallery in The Hague, the Netherlands since 1902.
  • It is all about Girl with a Pearl Earring.
  • It is one of the most famous paintings around the globe.
  • The girl in the painting is believed to be Vermeer’s eldest daughter, Maria. She about twelve or thirteen years old at the time it was created.
  • One of the famous paintings in the world is regarded as Vermeer’s masterpiece and referred to as the Mona Lisa of the North or the Dutch Mona Lisa.
  • The painting is also known as Girl In A Turban, Head Of Girl In A Turban, The Young Girl With Turban, and Head of a Young Girl.

Girl with A Pearl Earring

10. Whistler’s Mother

It was originally known as Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist’s Mother. It is an oil painting painted by American-born painter James McNeill Whistler in 1871. There are a few things that you should know about this painting,

  • It is considered to be one of the most famous paintings in the world painted by the American outside the United States.
  • It is displayed in Musee d’Orsay in Paris after it is owned by the French state in 1891.
  • It is also called as Victorian Mona Lisa and considered as an American icon.
  • Anna McNeill Whistler posed specially for the painting when she was living in the Cheyne Walk, Chelsea along with her son.
  • The nickname of the painting is Whistler’s Mother because it is a painting of Anna McNeill Whistler, who was the painter’s mother.
  • Since one of the world’s most famous paintings is of an artist’s mother, therefore, this painting has been used many times as a way to get people to remember their mothers and feel good about them.

famous paintings

11. Las Meninas

  • One of the famous paintings has been painted by the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez.
  • It was hanging in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the capital of Spain and painted in the year 1656.
  • The word “Menina” in the painting means “lady-in-waiting” or “Maid of Honour”. TO conclude, it means the girl who serves in the royal court.
  • According to the viewers, the painting is quite complicated because they generally do not agree who is looking at whom and why they are standing there.
  • The painting shows a large room in the Madrid palace of King Philip IV of Spain where several people have been looking at each other and some are looking out from the paintings of the viewers.
  • The person who stands in the middle is the Infanta Margarita. She is the princess and the daughter of the king and queen.

Las Meninas

12. Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

  • The oil canvas painting measures approximately 73.5 by 112 centimeters and placed at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels.
  • It was painted by leading Dutch painter of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
  • According to the museum statement, e execution is by Bruegel the Elder, but the composition can be said with certainty to be his” because recent research has reopened the question.
  • The painting was also described in the W. H. Auden’s famous poem “Musée des Beaux-Arts” and it was named after the museums that hold the paintings.
  • The subject of the poem has the same name by William Carlos Williams, as well as “Lines on Bruegel’s ‘Icarus'” by Michael Hamburger.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

13. Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

  • One of the most famous paintings is also known as the Decollation of Saint John the Baptist or the Beheading of the Forerunner.
  • The paintings show an event and holy day observed by various Christian churches that follow liturgical traditions.
  • The painting also describes the orders of Herod Antipas through the vengeful request of his step-daughter Salome and her mother Herodias.

Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

14. Night Watch

  • It was painted by the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn and later it was completed in 1642. It was considered as the peak of the Dutch Golden Age and listed as one of the most famous paintings in the world.
  • The oil canvas painting describes the company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and his lieutenant, Willem van Ruytenburgh who was surrounded by sixteen other men.
  • The painting is famous for its amazing light and shadow and the motion that depicts that would depict a traditionally been static military portrait.
  • The painting was hung in the Kloveniersdoelen in Amsterdam till 1715 and later it was moved to the town hall. However, in 1808 it was transferred to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam where you can still see it.
  • It was called by two other names known as “Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banning Cocq” and “The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch“.
  • The title of the painting known as ‘Night Watch’ was not given by the artist and later applied in the 18th century.

Night Watch

15. School of Athens

  • The famous painting was a work by the artist Raphael and it was painted during the Italian Renaissance between 1510 and 1511.
  • It was considered as one of the masterpieces of Raphael’s works and perfect classical spirit of the High Renaissance”.
  • The purpose of the painting is to decorate the frescoes the rooms are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello situated in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.
  • There are many people in the picture, however, some of the philosophers in the picture, such as Plato or Aristotle are easily visible.

School of Athens

16. The Third of May 1808

  • The oil canvas painting was completed in the year 1814 by reputed Spanish painter Francis Goya to accomplish Spanish victory over the armies of the brutal Napoleon.
  • One of the most famous paintings gives the message of liberation and will always remind us about the battle of Spain’s freedom.
  • The Third of May 1808 painting featured the bloody encounter with about six Napoleon army men pointing their rifles towards the Spanish rebels and are ready to execute them.
  • You can see one of the Spanish rebel-held up his hand in the air as a sign of surrender and also two of the Spanish men lie in the blood and others seem to be in the panic state as seen in the painting.
  • The backward of the painting is dark and there is some light seen on the Spanish rebels may be because French soldiers will get a better view of the target.

17. The Arnolfini Marriage

  • One of the beautiful paintings in the world is called by other names such as The Arnolfini Wedding, The Arnolfini Marriage, the Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife.
  • The oil painting was completed in the year 1434 by the Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck.
  • The full-length double portrait is believed to depict the Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife. It is presumed that they are in their homes situated in the Flemish city of Bruges.
  • It is considered as one of the masterpieces of original and complex paintings in Western art.

The Arnolfini Marriage

18. Water Lilies

  • Also known as Nympheas is a series of 250 oil paintings by famous French painter Claude Monet.
  • One of the famous paintings in the world depicts his flower garden at his home in Giverny.
  • The main focus of the painting by the artist is on the last thirty years of his life.
  • Also, the paintings have been completed by many other painters while Monet suffered from cataracts.

Water Lilies

19. Olympia

  • Olympia is an oil painting completed in the year 1863 by Edouard Manet.
  • The painting was first exhibited in 1865 and later become one of the most famous paintings in the world despite the subject of the painting was controversial.
  • The painting shows a nude woman who was lying on the bed being brought flowers by a servant.
  • It was first exhibited in Paris Salon and the government administration has to take extra safety measures to keep it safe.



20. Bal du moulin de la Galette

  • Also known as Dance at Le moulin de la Galette is an 1876 painting painted by the French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
  • The painting was kept at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and considered as one of the masterpieces by the famous painter.
  • One of the acknowledged and famous painting shows a typical Sunday afternoon at the original Moulin de la Galette in the district of Montmartre in Paris.

Bal du moulin de la Galette

21. The Kiss

  • The oil canvas painting is made up of gold leaf, silver, and platinum.
    It was created by Austrian painter Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt.
    The painting was created back in 1907 and 1908 where the scholars call it a “Golden Period”.
  • One of the famous paintings in the world, the kiss is about a couple embracing each other in an Art Nouveau style and organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement.
  • The painting is located in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere, Vienna.

The Kiss

22. Impression, Sunrise

  • Impression, Sunrise is one of the most famous paintings in the world created by Claude Monet and it was first shown at the “Exhibition of the Impressionists” in Paris in April 1874.
  • The painting was credited with the famous name of the Impressionist movement.
  • The painting depicts the port of Le Havre, Monet’s hometown.
    It is currently located at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris.

Impression, Sunrise

23. Luncheon Of The Boating Party

  • Luncheon Of The Boating Party is created by a French painter named Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
  • One of the most famous painting was first shown at the Seventh Impressionist Exhibition in 1882 and named as the best paintings by a combined decision of three critics.
  • Later, the famous painting was purchased by the dealer-patron Paul Durand-Ruel and bought in 1923 for $125,000.
  • Currently, the painting was situated in The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C


24. The Grand Odalisque

  • One of the most famous paintings also known as Une Odalisque or La Grande Odalisque.
  • It was created back in 1814 by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
    An oil painting depicts an odalisque, or concubine that was considered as a shift towards exotic Romanticism.
  • The painting was criticised in the first attempt, however, later renewed for the lack of anatomical realism.


25. The Happy Accidents Of The Swing

  • It is also known as The Happy Accidents of the Swing.
  • It is believed that the painting was created in the 18th century by Jean-Honoré Fragonard in the Wallace Collection in London.
  • One of the most famous paintings and masterpieces of the Rococo era is popular across the world.
  • The painting shows a beautiful woman on a swing with a smiling young man hiding behind the bushes on the left where he is watching her from the point that allows him to see up into her billowing dress.


These are the famous paintings in the world. Remember that there is a chance for any contemporary painting to become famous. We suggest you check modern online art galleries like Gallery Today and invest in the right oil painting for you. Kindly share and do post your comments about this article.

Other Sources: https://www.paintingkits.net/

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