Top 10 Most Famous Paintings of All Time

Take a look at the below list of Top 10 Most Famous Paintings of All Time till 2016-2017. Millions of pieces of artwork hang in galleries and take up attic space, but few remain in the minds of the world forever. Even if someone doesn’t know the painter or when it was created, iconic artwork can be recognized by almost everyone. Some pieces of artwork transcend time and space, leaving their indelible mark on society centuries later. People may try to copy them, but no one can capture the exact characteristics and emotion that the original portrays. The following list represents 10 of the most famous photos that everyone should be able to recognize in an instant.

List of Top 10 Most Famous Paintings of All Time till 2016-2017

10. The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali


The melting clocks are one of the most recognizable modern artworks. Salvador Dali painted the piece in 1931. The Spanish artist intended for the piece to have an impact on the viewer. He wanted to make people think about their life and how they spend their time. The clocks represent time melting away and memories fading in the distance. It was said that Einstein’s theory of relativity was the inspiration for this piece. One of the most prominent features of the painting is the muted colors and the theme of death and fading away. It reminds us how much closer we are to death with every passing moment.

9. Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat


This relaxed painting shows people enjoying a sunny afternoon on an island. One of the most remarkable facts about this painting is how it was created. It was created using stippling, where many tiny little dots are joined together to create the painting. There is something else you need to know about this painting. In Columbus Ohio there is a topiary garden that replicates this famous painting in plant sculpture. It is fun to actually walk among the characters on a sunny afternoon. To say this famous painting was inspirational is an understatement. It is the type of painting that just makes you want to jump in and join them on a beautiful afternoon.

8. The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn


No collection would be complete without one painting by the famous Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Aside from paintings, Rembrandt was also an etching maker. His work embodies the height of the Dutch Golden Age of wealth and cultural achievement. His works show great empathy and concern for the human condition of the time. The night watch was painted between 1640 and 1642. It is oil on canvas and depicts a group of musketeers stepping from the darkness of the courtyard into blinding sunlight after a night of guarding the castle. Nearly 20% of the painting was cut off the sides to make it fit into its position in the Amsterdam town hall in 1715. It is currently housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

7. Water Lilies, Claude Monet

water lilies claude monet, Top 10 Most Famous Paintings of All Time 2018

If one were to pick a favorite Impressionist painting, they would have quite a selection among the 250 pieces painted by Monet. He painted between 1840 and 1926 capturing scenes from around his home. His paintings are spread throughout some of the most famous museums in the world. Water lilies is a classic Monet, but it is really hard to choose from among his works. His paintings inspire peace among anyone who spends time with them. A list of the most famous paintings in the world would hardly be complete without at least one Monet on the list. He is one of the most prolific painters of all times.

6. Girl with the Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer


Vermeer is perhaps the most famous of the Dutch artists of the 17th century. This painting has been called “the Dutch Mona Lisa” or perhaps the “Mona Lisa of the North.” The painting was completed somewhere around 1665. If you want to see this painting, you will have to travel to the Maritshuis Gallery in the Netherlands. Like the Mona Lisa, the expression on her face is difficult to interpret. The focal point of the painting is her earring, but it is difficult to determine whether she is sad, curious, or exactly what she is thinking. Her intense gaze is captivating, regardless of her thoughts.

5. The Scream, Edvard Munch


The famous scream, frozen in time by Edvard Munch was completed in 1893. The painting uses oil and pastel on cardboard. This unusual choice of medium allows the artist to keep the colors almost unblended, giving it a childlike quality. It is considered one of the most frightening paintings in the world. It is currently on display at The National Gallery in Oslo, Norway. The bloody sky and the landscape in the background highlight the unnatural expression of the person on the bridge. This is one of the first paintings of the expressionism movement that places an importance on emotion over content or realism.

4. The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci


The Last Supper depicts Jesus and his disciples befor Jesus was arrested for the trial. It was painted in the late 15th century. It is not hanging in a museum, but you can see this painting if you go to the dining hall of the Santa Maria della Grazie monastery in Milan, Italy. It covers the back wall of the dining hall. This painting became the model for other depictions of the Last Supper. It is considered to be authoritative, even though it is only from the artist’s imagination. The details of the painting tell about the iconography and reveal much deeper revelations about the story behind the painting.

3. Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh


Vincent van Gogh is one of the most curious Dutch painters of the late 19th century. Starry Night was painted in 1889 and is one of the most well-known paintings of modern times. It is a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The style of the Starry Night caught on as a trend that others continue to try to emulate. The piece was done from memory, depicting his view from his room at the sanitarium where he was admitted at the time. The strokes of the painting show the artist’s passion and perhaps disturbance at the time.

2. Creation of Adam, Michelangelo


The creation of Adam is located on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome. It was created between 1508 and 1512 is one of nine scenes from the book of Genesis that are depicted on the center of the ceiling of the chapel. Michelangelo covered the entire 12,000 square feet of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with breathtaking detail. The painting details the dawn of man being created in God’s image. It shows classic sense of body proportion found in many of the Italian Renaissance art schools. Michelangelo’s depictions of human bodies are considered to be perfection in art.

1. Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci


The Mona Lisa is undeniably the most famous iconic painting in the entire world. There are few that dispute its place at the top of the list. The Mona Lisa is the main attraction at the Louvre Museum in Paris where 6 million people come to see it every year. Leonardo da Vinci painted it between the years 1503 or 1504, but did not consider it complete until 1519. It is the expression of the Mona Lisa that has captivated the world. It has been debated whether her smile is real or forced. Even though there are still debates about who she is, her face is unforgettable.

Choosing 10 of the world’s most famous paintings is not an easy task. This list represents some of the most iconic in the world and ones that everyone should recognize. If you are in the area of one of these famous paintings, you should stop by and see it, because there is nothing like experiencing the real thing.