Top 10 Most Famous Paintings In The World

Art is an inseparable part of our lives. It has shaped society, created powerful statements, and depicted the most complex of human emotions with the utmost sensitivity. From the medieval art styles to the Renaissance period which launched iconic artists like Da Vinci, Picasso, and others, art is not merely restricted to wall fixtures and art exhibitions. The paintings and creations of these artists were a mirror of the society we lived in. From religious themes to nature, and the intricacies of human life, all of them were captured on the canvas with utmost finesse and perfection.

Art is an expression of angst, mirth, nature and the complexities of human life in the purest and most aesthetic manner. There’s a reason why paintings cost such a fortune. They are storehouses of creativity and many a times a commentary on the world we live in. They say that a picture speaks a thousand words. A painting can move the coldest of hearts and the communication of the theme with perfect use of elements is essential. The world has seen so many iconic artists capturing the essence of human emotions of their works and that has been documented across art galleries all over the world. Here are top 10 most famous paintings in the world.

Top 10 Most Famous Paintings In The World

10. Cézanne – Mont Sainte-Victoire (1902-4)

 Cézanne – Mont Sainte-Victoire (1902-4) - most famous paintings

Showing a man gazing at a mountain trying to capture the monumental realities of life and the intricacies of the human thought process. This is a moving depiction of the struggles of human life and the intense and severe treatment of this painting through the gaze is an imagery of life and our pursuit at grasping the essence of life. Based on elements of cubism and abstraction, this is Cezanne’s most moving and poignant pieces till date. The painting is psychologically significant and creates a sense of intrigue on viewing it.

9. Parthenon Sculptures (447-442 BC)

Michelangelo – Prisoners (c 1519-34) - most famous paintings

While Greece has been a storehouse of mythological richness, Athens being the capital of Zeus’ kingdom, a perfect depiction of this rich historical period with a clash between Lord Elgin and the mortals sparking widespread controversy. Greek culture has been an object of enigma and these sculptures only highlight this enigma further. This piece of art is the most classic depiction of Greek culture.

8. Michelangelo – Prisoners (c 1519-34)

Michelangelo – Prisoners (c 1519-34) - most famous paintings

Michelangelo was one of the pioneers of the Renaissance movement. His creation, Prisoners, originally for Pope Julius II’s tomb never reached completion but still continues to be the most striking work of art till date. The painting depicted dying and rebel slaves imprisoned highlighting their pathos. The tragic treatment of this masterpiece and their struggle to escape the raw stone cage is still the most poignant piece of work on the lines of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

7. Picasso – Guernica (1937)

Picasso – Guernica (1937) - most famous paintings

Picasso, one of the most celebrated artists of his time used art as a medium of self expression. He registered his protest on the Guernica bombing by Hitler’s army during the Spanish Civil War. The painting has a grenade and the Guernica and the extremely creative, emotional and heart rending treatment of this painting won him laurels and also created a powerful statement in that era when the Nazi movement was on the rise.

6. Velázquez – Las Meninas (c 1656)

Velázquez – Las Meninas (c 1656)

Las Meninas by Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez

The painting depicts a king and queen amongst a throng of courtiers. This painting is a beautiful representation of royal life. The royal couple stand in front of the crowd of courtiers and Velazquez stands looking at them trying to paint their portrait while the attendants, and entertainers gather to treat the king and the queen. The painting also shows a minister standing at the door and a glowing reflection in a nearby mirror. Las Meninas also depicts the strange nature of the world we live in today, with a spectacle of everything and commotion everywhere.

5. Jackson Pollock – One: Number 31, 1950 (1950)

Jackson Pollock – One: Number 31, 1950 (1950) - most famous paintings

This is a contemporary piece of art with a free spirited, bohemian and larger than life approach. The abstract and excellent structure is individualistic, original and a breath of fresh air. The improvisationsint his painting only add to the freshness of the piece. This painting is a life like description of the human brain and the complexity of our thoughts.

4. Chauvet cave paintings (c 30, 000 years ago)

Chauvet cave paintings (c 30, 000 years ago) - most famous paintings

This painting is a beautiful depiction of evolution and biodiversity. The painting consists of animal portraits serving as documentaries of the past including influences from the ice age. The cave paintings may have been crafted by women, men or even kids. but the entire theme of the painting is the insight and observation of humankind slowly moving towards evolution and civilization.

3. Rembrandt – Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c 1665-9)

Rembrandt – Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c 1665-9) - most famous paintings

The extremely deep and poignant theme of this painting will take your breath away. The ephemeral gaze and the moral introspection and scrutiny are striking indeed. While some connoisseurs interpret this gaze as the conscience, the others interpret this as God staring into your sins, accomplishments and failures. The duality of this painting is so striking you won’t be able to get your eyes off this one.

2. Caravaggio – The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608)

Caravaggio – The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608) - most famous paintings

This painting depicts the gruesome murder of John the Baptist in a prison yard. The murderer approaches to cut away the last remaining tendons off John the Baptist’s neck while a person witnesses a scene from a nearby window. This painting is a striking depiction of human cruelty and dealth and the gloomy treatment of this masterpiece makes it all the more heart rending.

1. Leonardo da Vinci – The Foetus in the Womb (c 1510-13)

Leonardo da Vinci – The Foetus in the Womb (c 1510-13) - most famous paintings

Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most celebrated artists in the world is known for expressing his deep emotions on canvas with the utmost simplicity. This painting is represented by a human lying naked in a foetal position. This is the most natural and beautiful aspects of life, with no religious undertones just biology as the cradle of human life. It is considered to be the most beautiful painting in the world.