19 Great Paintings of all Times

The Great Wave of Kanakawa (1760 – 1849)
Author: Hokusai Katsushika
Location: Hakone Museum (Japan)
The composition of his woodblock print is made out of three items: the waves, the boats and Mount Fuji. There were 46 Mount Fuji paintings on the collection. It is one of the most copied art pieces of all times, 2-3 reproductions that were offered around 2005 had prices around $50,000.


Starry Night (1889)
Author: Vincent van Gogh
Location:Museum Of Modern Art (Ney York)
Van Gogh worked on this painting on september 1888 before his December breakdown:
– December 23: Van Gogh cuts off part of his ear after arguing with Gauguin.
– December 24: Van Gogh is found “lying in his bed, giving almost no sign of life”, and taken to the hospital.
– December 25: Theo visits Vincent in hospital; that evening Theo and Gauguin leaves for Paris.


The House of The Railroad (1925)
Author: Hopper
Location: Museum Of Modern Art (New York)
The lack of movement that makes this house a lonely place to be, has been an inspiration of: Bates Motel on Psycho (Hitchcock), the “Addams Family” house cartoon by Charles Addams of The New Yorker, Days of Heaven (Malick) and Giant (George Stevens).


The Creation of Adam (1508-1512)
Author: Michelangelo
Location: Sistine Chapel (The Vatican Museums)
Along with Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, The Creation of Adam and the other Sistine Chapel panels are the most replicated religious paintings of all time. It took him 4 years to paint the Chapel and this section was the last one. As paint dripped on his face, he almost went blind when he finished this masterpiece.


Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665)
Author: Johannes Vermeer
Location: Mauritshuis gallery (The Netherlands)
The painting inspired the movie “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Peter Webber. Scarlett Johanson got the second number of nominations (4) for this movie after  “Lost in Translation” (with 10).


Coca Cola 5 bottles (1962)
Author: Andy Warhol
Location: Whitney Museum of American Art (New York)
Andy Warhol made art available to the everyday man and everybody understood it. Coca-Cola paintings represented democratic equality:

“What’s great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”


Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening (1944)
Author: Dali
Location: Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Madrid)
What is surprising about Dali’s paintings in general is their size. This one in particular is 51×41 cm.


The Guernica (1937)
Author: Pablo Picasso
Location: Reina Sofia (Madrid)
This painting  has become a universal symbol warning humanity against the suffering and devastation of war. The Picasso sketches for the ‘Guernica’ painting were found in his 1936 sketchbook. The Spanish civil war did not begin until that summer, and Guernica was not bombed until April 1937.


Autumn Rhythm (1950)
Author: Jackson Pollock
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)

When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a sort of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.

—Jackson Pollock, My Painting, 1956


The Last Supper (1495-98)
Author: Leonardo da Vinci
Location: Milan Museum (Milan)

Mona Lisa
Author: Leonardo da Vinci
Location: Louvre Museum (Paris)

Da Vinci is the man behind some of the most famous portrait paintings in history. However, art experts still have relatively little idea what Leonardo da Vinci himself looked like. Because the Renaissance genius left no self-portraits from his youth, academics have been forced to explore their suspicions that he may have placed his image into one of his own masterpieces. Like in this painting, number 2 on the left and number 6 on the right are thought to be himself. And the same happens with “Mona Lisa“.


White on White (1918)
Author: Kazimir Malevich
Location: Museum of Modern Art (New York)
This painting belongs to his Suprematism period, an abstract style based on simple geometric shapes against a white background. These reductive geometries seem to be the product of extremely rational thinking, but Malevich’s writings confirm that ultimately he was seeking a strong spiritual feeling. Malevich’s work is also featured prominently in the Lars Von Trier film Melancholia.


Europe after the rain II (1940–42)
Author: Max Ernst
Location: Wadsworth Atheneum (US)
When World War II around, Ernst was in France. His friends, including Paul Éluard, managed to get him released, but when the Nazis invaded France the Gestapo came looking for Ernst and he had to escape to the U.S. with the help of Peggy Guggenheim – who he subsequently married. This brings us to 1940-1942, the years Ernst painted Europe After the Rain II while living in New York. He  was one of the primary pioneers of the Dada movement and Surrealism.


The Scream (1893)
Author: Edvard Munch
Location: Munch Museum (Oslo)
On 22 February 1994, the same day as the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, four men broke into the National Gallery and stole its version of The Scream, leaving a note reading “Thanks for the poor security”.

Birth of Venus (1485–87)
Author: Sandro Botticelli
Location: Uffizi Museum (Florence)
A curious  aspect of this painting that can be easily perceived is the presence of oranges in the background. These oranges are surprisingly significant, as they imply that the painting was funded by the Medici family, one of the largest contributors to art in the Renaissance world. The fact that the Medici family sponsored Botticelli in this work does a great deal to demonstrate it’s value.


Water Lilies (or Nympheas) (1920)
Author: Claude Monet
Location: Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Monet was seen as a rebel at school. He would draw caricatures of his teachers and friends. On 1868 he tried to kill himself by drowning in the Seine because his financial burdens were upsetting him so badly. This water lily painting is on the MoMA Museum but another of Monet’s water-lily paintings, Le bassin aux nymphéas, sold for almost £41 million at Christie’s in London.


The Kiss (1907-1908)
: Gustav Klimt
Location: Österreichische Galerie (Austria)
Long before dress down Friday, he worked wearing just sandals, a long white smock and no underwear.


Self-Portrait in Spherical Mirror (1935)
: Escher
Location: The Hague: Escher Museum (Netherlands)
“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?”
― M.C. Escher


The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate (2011)
: David Hockney
Location: Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao (Spain)
After painting several Yorkshire landscapes within common techniques, he opened his mind and let the new technologies influence his work. This painting is created by a sequence of 51 iPad drawings.


23 thoughts on “19 Great Paintings of all Times

  1. Thank you for giving us- me – this. Its a beautiful collection. My favorite, the self portrait by Escher.
    Loved d kiss & d girl with d pearl earings too.

    Plus, thanks for liking my poem


  2. Hi Virginia, I’ve come across a painting looks original maybe 1950’s contemporary city scape. The name on the painting is Duran. Would you happen to know who this might be? Thanks for your reply.


    • Hello Diane,

      Humm… I didn’t know about it and I haven’t found much. Where did you see this painting? What did it look like? Do you remember more features?


      • I have it. it came to me as a donation for my garage sale. I can take a picture of it and try and send it to you. But I’m not sure how to do that on your blog. Can I send it to your email address?


      • Hi Virginia, Hopefully you receive and can open this picture of the painting I mentioned by and artist named Duran. If you know who this is or know anyone who might I sure would appreciate your help. Thanks so much. Diane


  3. Virginia, a great list of favourites. I have been fortunate to have seen several of the originals on my travels. Art awakens something in us that is difficult to describe and even more difficult to live without.


    • Then you’ve got to travel a lot! I’ve always thought art was any creation that is able to produce a reaction. And I completely agree with you, art is something we couldn’t live without. If you, we would be indifferent creatures. So, given that you’ve seen those art pieces in person, which was more inspiring to you?


      • Of the ones I have seen on your list, the Birth of Venus was the most inspiring. It is such a well known image, but is so much more beautiful in real life than on greetings cards and chocolate boxes. But for me, Raphael’s paintings are the most beautiful things I have ever seen, particularly the Three Graces which is displayed at the Musee Conde in Chantilly, France. I am always drawn right into the landscape.


      • Aaaah Botticelli! I was there too and it was stunning. By the way, postcards and chocolates with paintings should be forbidden. They make people get the wrong impression about the materials used and the scale. Have never seen the Three Graces but remember some paintings at the Vatican Museum that were really beautiful. Have you been in Rome?


  4. Yes, I am very fortunate to have visited Rome several times, to have lived in France for 3 years, to have spent 3 months in Italy last summer and to have travelled to other places…..but still there are so many things to see that I will never be done travelling!


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