The Best Paintings Of All Time By Famous Artists
We have compiled a list of twenty of the greatest painters and their wonderful masterpieces. If you are wondering who these famous artists are? And the best paintings of all time, look no farther.
Greatest Paintings Of All Time:
- Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
- Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
- The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo di Lodovico
- The Storm on the Lake of Galilee by Rembrandt Harmenszoon
- The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso
- Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
- Bacchus by Michelangelo Caravaggio
- The School of Athens Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
- Woman with a Parasol by Claude Monet
- Bal du moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
- A Bar at the Folies-Bergere by Edouard Manet
- The Honeysuckle Bower by Peter Paul Ruben
- Las Meninas - The Maids of Honor by Diego Velázquez
- The Card Players Series by Paul Cézanne
- A Cotton Office in New Orleans by Edgar Degas
- The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
- Woman with a Hat by Henri Matisse
- The Scream by Edvard Munch
- A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
Vincent van Gogh Is perhaps the most famous artist in the world. One of the greatest of the Post-Impressionists. Vincent van Gogh's striking color, emphatic brushwork, and contoured forms of his work powerfully influenced modern art.
Here are some Vincent van Gogh facts In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life.
Vincent Van Gogh's art has influenced generations of young artists worldwide. Today we can see his impact in painting, in poetry, in songs, and videos.
Vincent Van Gogh Famous Painting
Painted in June 1889, it depicts the view from the window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise.
The Starry Night is one of the most recognized paintings in the western world.
Starry Night Over the Rhone (September 1888) was one of three paintings made during the same month, where Van Gogh incorporated the night sky and stars as fundamentally symbolic elements. Vincent Van Gogh also painted Cafe Terrace at Night and a portrait of his friend Eugene Boch which was perhaps the most symbolic of the three.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was a painter, architect, inventor, and student of all things scientific. His natural genius crossed so many disciplines that he epitomized the term “Renaissance man.”
Today, Leonardo da Vinci remains best known for his art, including two paintings that remain among the world’s most famous. He is among the most influential artists in history and has left a significant legacy not only in the realm of art but in science as well.
Leonardo da Vinci's drawings would become an essential part of his legacy. Da Vinci sketched prolifically, planning inventions, exploring human anatomy, drawing landscapes, and creating plans for his famous paintings.
Leonardo da Vinci Famous Painting
Mona Lisa has been described as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world".
The Mona Lisa is also one of the most valuable paintings in the world and maybe even the best painting of all time.
This famous painting is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, and was completed with oil paint on a white Lombardy poplar panel.
The Mona Lisa is the earliest Italian portrait to focus so closely on the sitter in a half-length position. The figure is shown in half-length, from the head to the waist, sitting in a chair whose arm is resting on balusters.
Michelangelo is one of the greatest artists of all time. Michelangelo was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.
Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then, he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. Michelangelo’s art career was more fully documented than that of any artist of the time or earlier.
Michelangelo was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Famous Painting
The Creation of Adam Is a fresco painting by Michelangelo, which forms part of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, painted c. 1508–1512.
The Creation of Adam illustrates the Biblical creation from the Book of Genesis in which God gives life to Adam, the first man. The fresco is part of a complex iconographic scheme and is chronologically the fourth in the series of panels depicting stories from Genesis.
The Creation of Adam differs from typical creation scenes painted up until that time. Here, two figures dominate the scene: God on the right, and Adam on the left. God is shown inside a floating nebulous form made up of drapery. The form is supported by angels who fly without wings. God is depicted as an elderly, yet muscular, man with grey hair and a long beard.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon was known for his self-portraits and biblical scenes. The Dutch artist Rembrandt is considered to be one of the greatest painters in European history.
Rembrandt was a 17th-century painter and etcher whose work came to dominate what has since been named the Dutch Golden Age. One of the most revered artists of his time, Rembrandt's greatest creative triumphs are seen in Rembrandt Harmenszoon portraits of his contemporaries, illustrations of biblical scenes, and self-portraits, as well as his innovative etchings and his use of shadow and light.
An innovative and prolific master in three media, Rembrandt Harmenszoon is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of fine art.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon Famous Painting
The painting depicts the miracle of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee, as depicted in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.
It is Rembrandt's only seascape. Dated 1633, the storm on the Sea of Galilee, was made shortly after Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam from Leiden when he was establishing himself as the city’s leading painter of portraits and historical subjects.
The biblical scene pitches nature against human frailty – both physical and spiritual. The disciples struggle against a sudden storm and fight to regain control of their fishing boat as a huge wave crashes over its bow, ripping the sail and drawing the craft perilously close to the rocks in the left foreground. One of the disciples succumbs to the sea’s violence by vomiting over the side. Amidst this chaos, only Christ, at the right, remains calm, like the eye of the storm.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso Is probably one of the most important figures of the 20th century, in terms of art, and art movements that occurred over this period.
Before the age of 50, the Spanish born artist had become the most well-known named modern artist, with the most distinct creative style.
Pablo Picasso was the most dominant and influential artist of the first half of the 20th century. Associated most of all with pioneering Cubism, alongside Georges Braque, he also created different collage styles and made major contributions to Symbolism and Surrealism. He saw himself above all as a painter.
Pablo Picasso Famous Painting
The Old Guitarist is an oil painting by Pablo Picasso created late 1903 – early 1904. It depicts an old and blind man with threadbare clothing weakly hunched over his guitar, playing in the streets of Barcelona, Spain.
The Old Guitarist has a timeless expression of human suffering. The blue palette adds to the melancholy and accentuates the tragic and sorrowful theme of the composition.
Johannes Vermeer Is one of the most celebrated and most famous Dutch painters of the 17th-century. As an artist, Johannes Vermeer created many famous paintings that are among the most beloved and revered images in the history of art.
Although only about 36 of his paintings survived, these rare works of fine art are among the greatest treasures in the world of fine art.
Vermeer painted mostly domestic interior scenes. His inspirations mainly came from where Vermeer grew up, which had a major impact on his life and career as a painter.
Johannes Vermeer Famous Painting
Girl with a Pearl Earring represents a young woman in a dark shallow space, an intimate setting that draws the viewer’s attention exclusively on her. She wears a blue and gold turban, a pearl earring, and a gold jacket with a visible white collar beneath it.
Unlike many of Vermeer’s subjects, she is not concentrating on the daily chores of life. Instead, caught in a fleeting moment, she turns her head over her shoulder, meeting the viewer’s gaze with her eyes wide and lips parted as if about to speak.
This famous painting is believed to be Vermeer's eldest daughter, Maria, who was about twelve or thirteen-years-old at the time it was created. Girl with a Pearl Earring was going to be titled Girl with a Turban and it wasn't until the second half of the twentieth century that the name was changed. This famous painting is regarded as Vermeer's renowned masterpiece and some art critics say its the best painting of all time.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian painter, his art became popular for the tenebrism technique he used, which used shadows to emphasize lighter areas of a painting.
Caravaggio specialized in still lifes of fruits and flowers, and later in his career, half-length portrait figures.
Caravaggio's technique was as spontaneous as his temper. Caravaggio painted straight onto the canvas with minimal preparation.
His famous paintings combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of light, which had an influence on the Baroque painting style.
Caravaggio made his technique a dominant stylistic element in art, darkening shadows and transfixing subjects in bright shafts of light. Caravaggio vividly expressed crucial moments and scenes, often featuring violent struggles, tortures, and death. He worked rapidly, with live models, preferring to forego drawings and work directly onto the canvas.
Michelangelo Caravaggio Famous Painting
Bacchus was painted shortly after Caravaggio joined the household of his first important patron, Cardinal Del Monte, and he reflects the humanist interests of the Cardinal's educated circle.
The famous painting shows a youthful Bacchus reclining in classical fashion with grapes and vine leaves in his hair. His right-hand grasps a black cord that appears to secure his robe. In front of him is a bowl of fruit; to the viewer’s left is around carafe of red wine.
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino was a painter and architect during the High Renaissance period. Much of his art remains since they were done mainly for the Vatican.
Raffaello was noted for his clarity of form and ability to convey grandeur, beauty, and perfection. Raphael was held in high esteem and he gained notoriety for his art. Raffaello was extremely influential in his lifetime.
Raffaello Urbino Famous Painting
The School of Athens was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.
In the center of the painting are two great Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. The scene is that of a Roman basilica and resembles the newly renovated Saint Peter’s Cathedral.
Claude Monet is a famous French painter and one of the founders of the Impressionism movement along with his friends Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille.
Monet rejected the traditional approach to landscape painting and instead of copying old masters. He chose to paint nature and his friends. Monet observed variations of color and light caused by the daily or seasonal changes.
Monet was one of the most consistent and prolific practitioners of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to the Plein-air landscape painting technique. By striving to translate his unique perception of the natural world directly to the canvas, the artist was instrumental in forging an entirely new direction for the world of art.
Claude Monet Famous Painting
Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son, sometimes known as The Stroll is one of Monet's most famous paintings. Monet's light, spontaneous brushwork create splashes of color within the painting.
The Woman with a Parasol was painted outdoors, probably in a single session of several hours' duration. Mrs. Monet's veil is blown by the wind, as is her white dress; the waving grass of the meadow is echoed by the green underside of her parasol.
She is seen as if from below, with a strong upward perspective, against fluffy white clouds in an azure sky. A boy, the Monets' seven-year-old son, is placed further away and is visible only from the waist up, creating a sense of depth.
Salvador Dalí was a Spanish surrealist painter and printmaker, he was influential for his explorations of the subconscious mind through art.
Salvador Dalí is among the most versatile and prolific artists of the 20th century and one of the most famous Surrealist artists in the world. Salvador Dalí's painting skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. Salvador Dalí usually depicts a dream world in which commonplace objects are juxtaposed, deformed, or otherwise metamorphosed in a bizarre and irrational fashion of art.
Salvador Dalí Famous Painting
The Persistence of Memory
The Persistence of Memory often called just "Melting Clocks" and widely regarded as a Surrealist masterpiece and is Salvador Dalí's best-renowned painting.
The dripping watches and a deformed face in this painting certainly look like an unalloyed expression of the subconscious. The Persistence of Memory illustrates how useless, irrelevant, and arbitrary our normal concept of time is inside the dream state.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was among the central artists who launched the Impressionism movement in the 1870s.
Renoir was a famous French artist and was a leading painter of the Impressionist style. As a young boy, he worked in a porcelain factory. And his drawing skills were early recognized, and he was soon employed to create designs on the fine china.
Renoir's early works depicted real-life scenarios and feature pleasant, light themes. He was known as a master of facial expressions. Pierre-Auguste Renoir combined his technique of broken brush strokes with brash colors to portray light and movement of the subject.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir Famous Painting
This famous painting depicts a typical Sunday afternoon at the original Moulin de la Galette in the district of Montmartre in Paris. In the late 19th century, working-class Parisians would dress up and spend time there dancing, drinking, and eating galettes into the evening.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir reveals his true talent in the painting linking the art of collective portraits, still lifes, and landscape painting. His use of light, as well as his fluidity of brushstrokes, is typical of an Impressionistic style.
The painting was unique as no artist before Renoir had created an image capturing an aspect of the daily life of this magnitude. Bal du Le Moulin de la Galette is one of Impressionism’s most celebrated masterpieces and has been described as “the most beautiful painting of the 19th century”.
A pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, Edouard Manet was an influential painter who left his own unique mark on the art world.
As a child, his father was a judge, who wanted him to pursue a career in law, but his uncle, recognizing little Edouard’s talents, encouraged his interest in art, often taking him the Louvre.
It was not until Manet failed two entrance exams into the French Navy that his father relented to his son’s wishes and allowed him to start art lessons under the academic painter Thomas Couture, who had him copy the works of the best paintings of all time by the great masters in the Louvre.
Édouard Manet Famous Painting
A Bar at the Folies-Bergère represents the bustling interior of one of the most prominent music halls and cabarets of Paris, the Folies-Bergère.
The venue opened in 1869 and its atmosphere was described as “unmixed joy”. In contrast, the barmaid in Manet’s representation is detached and marooned behind the bar.
This melancholic café scene is undoubtedly Manet's last masterpiece and one of his most famous paintings. The Folies-Bergere was a popular café concert for a fashionable and diverse crowd. The lively bar scene is reflected in the mirror behind the central figure. Her beautiful, tired eyes avoid contact with the viewer - who also plays a double role as the customer in this scene.
Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish artist. Peter Rubens is considered the most influential artist of the Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens' highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history.
Ruben's unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation.
Ruben specialized in making altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and historical paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
Peter Paul Rubens Famous Painting
The Honeysuckle Bower is a self-portrait of Peter Paul Rubens and his first wife. The oil painting was painted soon after the couple’s marriage in 1609 and depicts the newlyweds sitting in a honeysuckle bower.
The Honeysuckle Bower painting is full of symbolism of love. For example, honeysuckle is a traditional symbol of love, just like the surrounding garden. Likewise, the newlyweds are leaning towards each other which reflects their affection and devotion.
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, the most admired—perhaps the greatest—European painter who ever lived, possessed a miraculous gift for conveying a sense of truth.
One of Velázquez's greatest talents was painting portraits, which capture the appearance of reality.
Velázquez was a Spanish painter and the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV, and one of the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age. Velázquez was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period.
In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, Diego Velázquez painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners.
Diego Velázquez Famous Painting
The most famous and heavily debated composition, of Diego Velázquez's paintings, is the fantastic and unusual family portrait 'Las Meninas'.
Breaking with the norms of traditional portraits, Velázquez chooses to show us 'behind the scenes' at the Royal Court.
The famous painting appears to center around La Infanta Margarita, aged 5, who is surrounded by her ladies (or Meninas), the family dog, and two dwarves. Whilst most people's attention seems to be on her, Velázquez has once again proved that those people normally kept 'behind the scenes' are elegantly captured.
One of the most influential artists in the history of modern art, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) has inspired generations of artists.
Generally categorized as a Post-Impressionist, his unique method of creating form with color and his analytical approach to nature, influenced the art of Cubists, Fauves, and avant-garde artists. Cézanne is credited with paving the way for the emergence of twentieth-century modernism, both visually and conceptually.
Paul Cézanne Famous Painting
The card players are probably the first in a series of five paintings that Cézanne devoted to commoners playing cards. Enlisting local farmhands to serve as models.
Edgar Degas was a French artist who was renowned for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings.
Degas is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers.
Regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, he rejected the term, preferring to be called a realist. He was a superb draftsman, and masterly in depicting movement, as can be seen in his rendition of dancers, racecourse subjects and female nudes.
Edgar Degas Famous Painting
The Cotton Office in New Orleans is an 1873 oil painting completed by Edgar Degas.
The firm was swamped by the postwar growth of the Cotton Exchange. Degas depicts the moment within the office at his uncle Michel Musson's cotton brokerage business before the business went bankrupt in an economic crash.
In the painting, Musson is seen examining raw cotton for its quality while Degas' brother Rene reads The Daily Picayune. Another brother, Achille, rests against a window wall at left while others, including Musson's partners, go about their business.
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement.
Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, and sketches. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by eroticism. Gustav Klimt was known as Vienna's most renowned artist for his era and he had prestige and fame as well.
Gustav Klimt is still remembered as one of the greatest decorative painters of the 20th century and he has produced significant bodies of erotic art.
Gustav Klimt Famous Painting
The Kiss depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary fine art.
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship.
Henri Matisse was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a famous painter who had a talent for creating colorful art.
Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, along with significant developments in printmaking and sculpture.
Henri Matisse Famous Painting
The term Fauve ("wild beast"), coined by an art critic, became forever associated with the artists who exhibited their brightly colored canvases in the central gallery (dubbed the cage centrale) of the Grand Palais.
Women with a Hat was painted in 1905 and exhibited at the Salon d'Automne during the fall of the same year, along with works by André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, and several other artists known as "Fauves".
Edvard Munch is best known as being a Norwegian born, expressionist painter. In the late 20th century, Munch played a great role in German expressionism and the art form that later followed.
Munch intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main tenets of late 19th-century Symbolism.
Edvard Munch Famous Painting
The German title which is given to Edvard Munch, The Scream is Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature).
The work shows a figure with an agonized expression against a landscape with a tumultuous orange sky. Munch's, The Scream is an icon of modern art, and some critics say the Mona Lisa for our time.
As Da Vinci evoked the Renaissance ideals of serenity and self-control, Munch defined how we see our own self - at times wracked with anxiety and uncertainty.
Essentially, The Scream is autobiographical, an expressionistic construction based on Munch's actual experience.
Georges Seurat was a French post-Impressionist painter and draftsman. Seurat is noted for his innovative use of drawing media. And is chiefly remembered as the pioneer of the Neo-Impressionist technique commonly known as Divisionism, or Pointillism, an approach associated with a softly flickering surface with small dots or strokes of color.
Georges Seurat innovations derived from new quasi-scientific theories about color and expression, yet the graceful beauty of his work is influenced by various sources.
Initially, he believed that great modern art would show contemporary life in ways similar to classical fine art, except that it would use technologically informed techniques.
Georges Seurat Famous Painting
Seurat depicted people relaxing in a suburban park on an island in the Seine River called La Grande Jatte.
Seurat became the father of Pointillism and of Neo-Impressionism. However, Georges Seurat preferred to call his technique "chromoluminarism," a term he felt better stressed its focus on color and light.
This complicated masterpiece of Pointillism began in 1884 with a series of almost 60 sketches Seurat made while people-watching at the Paris park.
Next, Georges Seurat started painting, using small horizontal brush strokes. After this initial work, he began the labor-intensive realization of his vision with tiny dots of paint—a process that would not be completed until the spring of 1886.
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