45 Most Famous Paintings of All Times

The best paintings simply take your breath away! They have a unique theme or a new painting style that makes it to standout in this crowded field.

Many of these paintings are a testimony to the skill and talents of many artists from different parts of the world. Pablo Picasso rightly said that every child is a born artist, the problem is to retain that artist within themselves.

This universe is full of art and inspiration, that is what everyone can see, but it takes a really talented and visionary artist to pick paint and brush and illustrate their thoughts, visions and this beautiful universe into paintings.

Most Beautiful and Expensive Paintings

To blow you off the ground, we have gone through the great detail to find some of the best art work that has ever been produced. Below are 45 most beautiful, famous and expensive paintings of all times.

45. Anders zorn our daily bread

Anders_Zorn by Vårt_dagliga_bröd

Painted in 1886 “Our daily bread” by Anders zorn from Sweden, depicts his mother sitting at the edge of a ditch, and cooking potatoes for the harvesters. The painting is from his private collection and shows his mother’s sacrifices.

He was in his mid 20s when he painted it to pay a tribute to his mother’s love for him and his big joint family. The composition came in public domain, after the artist’s death in 1920. After that it was purchased by National museum Stockholm.

44. The Wounded Angel

The_Wounded_Angel by Hugo_Simberg

The painting with two gloomy boys carrying an angel on a stretcher with bandaged forehead and a bloodied wing makes people curious in a second. And the direct gaze of the boy to the right touches the viewers ‘soul.

The composition is still considered as one of the finest work of art since 1903, and it is in the same year it was produced by Finnish symbolist painter Hugo Simberg.

The painting was a source of strength for Simberg, as he had been suffering from meningitis from a very long time. In 2006, the painting was voted Finland’s “National Painting” through a contest organized by the Ateneum art museum.

43. Christina’s World

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth

Christina’s World is one of the most famous paintings of 20th century by American painter Andrew Wyeth.

The 1948’s canvas depicts a woman, Anna Christina who is crawling up from a yellowish-brown grass field, and looking lovingly at a gray farmhouse on the top of the crag. The woman in the painting was suffering from a muscular disorder that prevented her from hiking.  However, she was still doing an effort to get to the farmhouse that was situated quite far off.

The challenge here for the artist was to do impartiality to her extraordinary conquest of life which most people would consider hopeless. The beautiful painting with a deep meaning and desire to achieve is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

42. NightHawks

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks is one painting that depicts the elusive assessment of today’s society. The four characters in the painting are isolated and disconnected from their environment despite being in a chic environment.

On the outside it looks that the man and woman are holding hands however on closer inspection they are not even looking at each other. The other two characters also look like talking to each other however they are not.

The painting was bought immediately after it was completed by Hopper by the Art Institute of Chicago which remains there till date. Although Hopper claimed that the location was real however people were not able to find any such restaurant. The painting gives an idea that everyone in this world is alone since the characters are disconnected and placed in an ambiguous relationship.

The painting was produced by Hopper in 1942 on canvas and was painted with oil.

41. Glow of Hope

Glow of Hope by SL Haldankar

The Glow of hope also referred to as the “Woman with the Lamp” is one mater piece from S.L. Haldankar. This masterpiece was produced in 1945-46. Haldankar was stuck with the idea of painting it on an Indian Festival Diwali – The festival of lights; when he saw his daughter in a beautiful Indian outfit saree with a candle in one hand and her other hand protecting the flame from the wind.

Haldankar made his daughter Geeta the subject of his painting and immortalized her on painted handmade paper using water colors. Water colors were used deliberately by Haldankar since he wanted to prove that he can make a painting without any mistakes. Oil colors can be erased however it is not possible with water colors.

Haldankar celebrated women in this painting of his with the use of color and the subject – his third daughter. The lavender in the saree represents grace and the gold color defines royal touch. Geeta Haldankar’s daughter in the painting is an epitome of grace, feminity and natural beauty. The effect of the painting is heightened with the shadow behind the subject.

40. Salvator Mundi

salvator mundi painting

Salvator Mundi, the 66 cm x 45 cm long and wide artwork was created in 1500 century by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo.

The medium oil painting depicts Jesus as a savior of world, making the sign of the cross with his right hand, while holding a transparent crystal globe in his left. The painting is called to be a copy of a lost and original one, which was rediscovered and restored, and included in a major Leonardo exhibition at the National Gallery, London, in 2011-2012.

The painting was last sold at an auction in November 2017 for $450.3 million to Prince Badr bin Abdullah. It is a new record for the most expensive painting ever sold at a public auction.

39. Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

Storm on the Sea of Galilee was a piece of art painted in 1633, by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn.

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For a very long time, it was exhibited in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Unfortunately in 1990, two thieves broke into the museum and stole it with 12 other artworks.

Sadly, it is still missing. This theft is still considered as one of the biggest art thefts in the US history.

38. Dog Lying in the Snow

Franz Marc Dog Lying in the Snow

This popular composition was created in 1911 by a German-based artist, Franz Marc.

The painting with angular aspects features Marc’s own Siberian Shepherd dog named Russi, lying carefree on white freezing snow in the month of January, near the village where he lived.

The scene featuring primary colors of yellow, blue and their combinations, illustrates the affection of dog with nature. Marc was known for painting animals, as he felt they were pure and closer to God. Of all his popular creations, this was very intimate and close to his heart.

37. Portrait of Mari Clasen

Halfdan Egedius Portrait of Mari Clasen

Portrait of Mari Clasen is one of the most liked oil paintings in the world. The Drammen, Norway-based artist Halfdan Johnsen Egedius painted it in 1895, when he was only 17-years.

He wonderfully blended the colors to describe the beauty of Norway’s folk costume Bunad, worn by Mari Clasen, a young pretty woman from South Central Norway. The painting speaks a lot about the beauty and culture of the country.

36. The Old Guitarist

The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

The old guitarist is one of the most haunting images created by Pablo Picasso since Picasso had restricted himself to a cold monochromatic blue palette depicting the emotional, psychological themes of human misery and alienation. The painting is an epitome of a timeless expression of human sufferings.

Picasso produced the painting while working in Barcelona in 1903. This was known as the blue period of Picasso (1901 to 1904). The subject of this masterpiece of Picasso is an old man although emaciated however still holding to his guitar and playing it. A remarkable effect to the painting comes out in the form of the old man’s bony frame.

The painting can be attributed to the lifestyle led by Picasso in that time period since he was quite poor in that period and his subjects of art in that particular period were people from the lowest strata of that particular society – beggars, prostitutes, single mothers and drunks.

35. The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli is a painting that depicts the emergence of Goddess Venus from the sea as a beautiful woman. The most striking part of this simple painting is the beautiful face of Goddess Venus and her shy posture. It is currently housed in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

34. Dogs Playing Poker

A Bachelor's Dog painting the bold bluff painting a friend in need painting

Painted in 1903 by C.M. Coolidge, this painting has 16 images of dogs sitting around a poker table and playing cards. This painting was an iconic depiction of Americans during the early part of 19th century.

33. Portrait of Madame Recamier

Portrait of Madame Récamier

This portrait shows Juliette Recamier sitting on a style sofa in a simple dress with bare arms. This painting steeped in neoclassical fashion is now located at Louvre in France.

32. No.5, 1948

No.5, 1948 painting

This famous painting by Jackson Pollock is a signature piece of art that depicts the chaos raging within Pollock at the time of painting. The many swirls and meshes make it a unique piece of work. For these reasons, it is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold by an American artist as it was sold for a huge $140 million.

31. The Son of Man

the son of a man painting

The Son of Man, painted by Rene Magrittees, is a piece of work that shows his own self in a black suit, but with an apple instead of his face.

30. Royal Red and Blue

royal red and blue painting

This recent painting by Mark Rothko shows royal blue and red squares on a canvas. The highlight of this painting is its hand-made canvas, and it is currently placed in the Art Institute at Chicago.

29. Massacre of the Innocents

Massacre of the Innocents painting

Based on the biblical massacre of innocents in Bethlehem, this painting by Peter Paul Rubens strikes a chilling note in the minds of viewers.

28. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte painting

Created by Georges Suerat, it shows the relaxed atmosphere of people on a lazy Sunday afternoon in an island. This painting is an excellent example of pointillism, where many dots are joined together to create an image.

27. The Dance

The Dance by Henri Matisse is based on the art form of fauvisim that is depcited by bright colors. This painting is about a few people dancing together in a circle, and is especially noteworthy for its bright blue background.

26. American Gothic

American Gothic grant wood painting

American Gothic symbolizes the grit and determination of Americans during the Great Depression. In this painting, Grant Wood, shows a stern-looking couple standing in front of a house with Gothic windows.

25. The Flower Carrier

The Flower Carrier diego rivera painting

Painted by the most popular Mexican painter of the 20th century, this painting shows how a person is struggling to carry a huge flower basket on his back. Its bright colors are a trademark of Diego Rivera.

24. Whistler’s Mother

Whistler’s Mother james mcneill whistler painting

Also known as “Arrangement in Grey and Black. The Artist’s Mother,” it is one of the most famous painting by American artist James McNeill Whistler. In this painting, Whistler depicts his mother sitting on a chair against a grey wall. This painting is so called because the artist has used only black and grey shades in this painting.

23. The Persistence of Memory

The Persistence of Memory salvador deli painting

This painting by the Spanish artist Salvador Dali is a classic example of surrealism where hard and soft things are present side by side. In this picture, a soft image of clock slides in the background of a hard table.

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22. Portrait of Dora Maar

Portrait of Dora Maar pablo picaso

Pablo Picasso is one of the most accomplished Spanish painter, and his skill is most evident in this painting. He is the founder of a style called Cubism that shows the same picture from different angles. This picture is about a woman’s face, believed to that of Picasso’s lover, shown from different angles, thereby marking the first of many paintings in cubism style.

21. Portrait de L’Artiste Sans Barbe

Portrait de L'Artiste Sans Barbe van gogh painting

This painting by Van Gogh is an interesting piece because it shows the artist without his beard. It is also one of the few paintings sold by Van Gogh, and it fetched a whopping $71.5 million in 1998, making it one of his most expensive paintings ever sold.

20. Cafe Terrace at Night

Cafe Terrace at Night van gogh painting

Painted by Vincent Van Gogh, this painting shows an everyday setting in bright colors. A simple dinner at a cafe along a street is well-depicted in this simple painting.

19. Composition 8

Composition 8 kandinsky painting

Kandinsky is often known as the founder of abstract art, a form that uses shapes and symbols instead of real people. Composition 8 is one of his first paintings that expound this form of art.

18. The Kiss

One of the first pieces of art in the Art Nouveau style, this painting used gold leaf as the background. Created by Gustav Klimt, this painting is renowned for this style.

17. La Moulin de la Galette

la moulin de la galette renoir painting

The name of this painting translates to “Pastry Chef” and is a vivid description of a city life. This painting by Renoir is also one of the most expensive paintings ever bought.

16. Olympia

Olmpia by Edouard Manet created quite a controversy as it showed a woman with a gaze and subtlety that indicated that she is a mistress. It is also a good early example of realism style.

15. The Third of May

The Third of May francisco goya painting

This painting by Francisco Goya shows Napoleon’s attack on Spaniards. This is one of the first SPanish paintings to show war in bad light.

14. Las Meninas

las meninas de diego velázquez painting

Las Meninas portrays Margarita Teresa of Spain as a young child along with the King and Queen of Spain. Painted by Diego Valazquez, this is conisdered to be an important baroque painting.

13. The Arnolfini Marriage

The Arnolfini Marriage painting

This painting is one of the oldest preserved ones dating back to 1434. It was done by Jan van Eyck and portrays the Italian businessman Giovanni Arnolfini and his pregnant wife in their home in the city of Bruges.

12. The Scream

the scream edvard munch poster

The Scream is a painting by Edvard Munch of Norway and it shows the distorted face of a figure against a bloody sky. The hill landscape in the background adds to this picture’s charm. It is also one of the first few paintings done in expessionism style where the reality is blurred to give more importance to emotions.

11. Water Lilies

Water lilies by Claude Monet

Water lilies, painted by Claude Monet, is a series of 250 oil paintings based on his own flower garden. These paintings are located in different art museums world over.

10. Starry Night

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh painting

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh shows the village of Saint-Remy under a swirling sun. It is one of the most well-known images in modern culture and is currently housed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

9. Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

landscape with the fall of icarus pieter bruegel

This painting by Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel shows man’s indifference to the suffering of his fellowmen. It is a powerful theme shown in a rather simple way with Icarus, the Greek character suffering under water and people going on with their work.

8. The Creation of Adam

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo shows how God created Adam. It is one of the paintings that adorn the 12,000 square feet area of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

7. The Last Supper

the last supper mary magdalene painting

The Last Supper is a painting that depicts the last meal that Jesus had with his disciples. Displayed at the dining hall of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, this painting has also created much controversy around Mary Magdalene, the supposed character sitting next to Jesus.

6. Guernica

Guernica by Picasso painting

Guernica by Picasso depicts the bombing of the city of the Spanish city of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It is a black and white painting that shows the role of Italians and Germans in this bombing.

5. Girl with a Pearl Earring

girl with a pearl earring johannes painting

The Girl With a Pearl Earring is often known as Dutch Monalisa because the expression on the girl’s face is hard to understand. This painting by Johannes Vermeer has her pearl earrings as the focal point.

4. Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

Beheading of Saint John the Baptist caravaggio

This painting by Caravaggio shows a realistic depiction of a murder moment in a prison. The gloom of the picture and the expressions of the onlookers make it a true classical masterpiece. It is displayed in St. John’s Cathedral in Valletta, Malta.

3. Night Watch

night watch rembrandt wallpaper

Night Watch is one of the most popular pieces of work by Rembrandt. It depicts an entire city moving out led by its captain. A unique aspect is its dark varnish that gives an impression of night scene. It is currently housed in Riksmuseum in Amsterdam.

2. School of Athens

school of athens raphael painting

Painted by Raphael, this painting contains pictures of famous philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle walking in the middle along with other philosophers on the sides. It is now located in the Vatican.

1. Monalisa

mona lisa leonardo da vinci most famous painting

Probably the most famous painting in the world is Monalisa by Leonardo da Vinci. It is a portrait of a lady called Gherardini and is famous because the lady’s expression is indecipherable. This painting is currently displayed in Louvre, France.

Here is our list of the most famous 35 paintings ever done. Which of these is your favorite? Do let us know through your comments.


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