10 most famous paintings: Masterpieces we all know as well as love

Written by Forrest Brown, CNN

Every year, billions of dollars’ worth of art passes through international auction houses, while leading museums each hold tens of thousands — even hundreds of thousands — of artworks in their collections. however precious few ever achieve the fame required to truly be considered household names.

As “famous” will be a subjective term, CNN Style turned to Google to see which paintings topped search results worldwide over the past a few years.
We compared dozens of favorite masterpieces — via classics such as “Mona Lisa,” “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” as well as the “Salavator Mundi,” to more modern works like “Nighthawks” as well as even the “Dogs Playing Poker” series.

Based on those results, these are the planet’s 10 most searched-for paintings:

1. ‘Mona Lisa’

If you had any doubts about the wild popularity of "Mona Lisa," the crowds at the Louvre will convince you.

If you had any doubts about the wild popularity of “Mona Lisa,” the crowds at the Louvre will convince you. Credit: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Estimated date: 1503 to 1519
Where to see the item: Louvre Museum (Paris)

the item should come as no surprise of which the most famous painting from the planet will be of which mysterious woman with the enigmatic smile. however of which’s one of the few certainties about of which work of art.

The sitter from the painting will be thought to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florence merchant Francesco del Giocondo, however experts aren’t sure. the item did represent an innovation in art — the painting will be the earliest known Italian portrait to focus so closely on the sitter in a half-length portrait, according to the Louvre, where the item was first installed in 1804.
Did you know? Before the 20th century, historians say the “Mona Lisa” was little known outside art circles. however in 1911, an ex-Louvre employee pilfered the portrait as well as hid the item For just two years. of which theft helped cement the painting’s place in favorite culture ever since as well as exposed millions to Renaissance art.

2. ‘The Last Supper’

Visitors take photos of "The Last Supper" ("Il Cenacolo or L'Ultima Cena") at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.

Visitors take photos of “The Last Supper” (“Il Cenacolo or L’Ultima Cena”) at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. Credit: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Estimated date: 1495 to 1498
Where to see the item: Santa Maria delle Grazie (Milan, Italy)

Leonardo, the original “Renaissance Man,” will be the only artist to appear on of which list twice.

Painted in an era when religious imagery was still a dominant artistic theme, “The Last Supper” depicts the last time Jesus broke bread with his disciples before his crucifixion.

The painting will be actually a huge fresco — 4.6 meters (15 feet) high as well as 8.8 meters (28.9 feet) wide, which makes for a memorable viewing.

Did you know? The fresco has survived two wartime threats — Napoleon’s troops used the wall of the refectory on which the fresco was painted as target practice. the item also was exposed to the air for several years when bombing during World War II destroyed the roof of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

3. ‘The Starry Night’

Tourists look at "The Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh at Museum of Modern Art in fresh York.

Tourists look at “The Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh at Museum of Modern Art in fresh York. Credit: Victor Fraile Rodriguez/Corbis/Getty Images

Artist: Vincent van Gogh
Date: 1889
Where to see the item: Museum of Modern Art (fresh York City)

The comparatively abstract painting will be the signature example of van Gogh’s innovative as well as bold use of thick brushstrokes. The painting’s striking blues as well as yellows as well as the dreamy, swirling atmosphere have intrigued art lovers for decades.

Did you know? Van Gogh was living in an asylum in Saint-Rémy, France, being treated for mental illness, when he painted “The Starry Night.” He was inspired by the view via the window of his room.

4. ‘The Scream’

"The Scream" by Edvard Munch will be installed for a special exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.

“The Scream” by Edvard Munch will be installed for a special exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. Credit: The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Artist: Edvard Munch
Date: 1893
Where to see the item: National Museum (Oslo, Norway — opening in 2020) as well as Munch Museum (Oslo — through May 2020)
First things first — “The Scream” will be not 1 work of art. According to a British Museum’s blog, there are two paintings, two pastels as well as then an unspecified number of prints. The paintings reside from the National Museum as well as the Munch Museum, as well as in 2012, one of the pastels sold for almost $0 million at auction.

Much like the case of “Mona Lisa,” daring thefts (1994 as well as 2004) of the two painting versions of “The Scream” helped elevate the public’s awareness of the artworks. (Both were eventually found).

Did you know? The androgynous figure from the forefront of the Art Nouveau-style painting isn’t producing the scream however rather will be trying to block out a piercing shriek coming via nature. the item was inspired by an actual experience Munch had while taking in a sunset stroll in Oslo when a dramatic red hue overwhelmed his senses.

5. ‘Guernica’

View of Pablo Picasso's "Guernica" at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain.

View of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain. Credit: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Artist: Pablo Picasso
Date: 1937
Where to see the item: Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid)

of which will be the most recent painting on of which list, as well as the item depicts the German aerial bombing of the town of Guernica from the Basque region during the Spanish Civil War.

The painting has of which distinctive Picasso style, as well as its unflinching examination of the horrors of war made the item an essential part of 20th century culture as well as history.

Did you know? “Guernica” was moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in fresh York during World War II for safekeeping. Picasso requested of which the stay be extended until democracy returned to Spain. the item finally went back to Madrid in 1981, six years after the death of longtime Spanish dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.

6. ‘The Kiss’

Visitors admire "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt at the Upper Belvedere in Vienna, Austria.

Visitors admire “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt at the Upper Belvedere in Vienna, Austria. Credit: Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency/Getty Imagesges

Artist: Gustav Klimt
Estimated date: 1907 to 1908
Where to see the item: Upper Belvedere museum (Vienna, Austria)

With No. 6, we move via a study in hate to a study in love with Gustav Klimt’s beloved “The Kiss.”

via Klimt’s “Golden Period,” Byzantine artistic influences can be seen from the highly decorative robes worn by the passionate, life-sized couple.
The Upper Belvedere says of which with “The Kiss,” Klimt makes a “general allegorical statement about love being at the heart of human existence.” Given its magnetic appeal, the item seems people agree.

Did you know? While “The Kiss” isn’t for sale, different works by Klimt are bought as well as sold for huge sums. Oprah Winfrey offloaded the 1907 artwork “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II” for $150 million in 2016 — for a cool $60 million profit.

7. ‘Girl using a Pearl Earring’

A journalist takes a photo of Johannes Vermeer's "Girl using a Pearl Earring" at the Mauritshuis Museum from the Hague, Netherlands.

A journalist takes a photo of Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl using a Pearl Earring” at the Mauritshuis Museum from the Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Michel Porro/Getty Images

Artist: Johannes Vermeer
Estimated date: 1665
Where to see the item: Mauritshuis (The Hague, Netherlands)
of which intriguing favorite often gets compared with the “Mona Lisa.” Besides the stylistic differences, technically “Girl using a Pearl Earring” isn’t even a portrait, however a “tronie” — a Dutch word for a painting of an imaginary figure with exaggerated features.

The oil on canvas masterpiece will be brilliant in its simplicity. The girl — wearing a blue as well as gold turban as well as an oversized pearl earring — will be the entire focus with only a dark backdrop behind her.

Did you know? While the Mauritshuis underwent a renovation via 2012 to 2014, “Girl using a Pearl Earring” went on tour from the United States, Italy as well as Japan. the item drew huge crowds, further bolstering its status among the planet’s most famous works of art.

8. ‘The Birth of Venus’

A journalist examines "The Birth of Venus" by Italian painter Sandro Botticelli during a press preview at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, in October 2016.

A journalist examines “The Birth of Venus” by Italian painter Sandro Botticelli during a press preview at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, in October 2016. Credit: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Artist: Sandro Botticelli
Estimated date: 1485
Where to see the item: Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi (Florence, Italy)
The oldest painting from the top 10 as well as competing with “The Kiss” for most sensuous, “The Birth of Venus” was probably commissioned by a member of the wealthy as well as art-loving Medici family, which ruled Florence as well as nearby areas for centuries.

Marrying a renewed interest in classic Greek culture with Early Renaissance style, Botticelli creates an unforgettable figure with the Goddess of Love emerging via a huge scallop shell.

Did you know? Botticelli’s “Venus” features two significant departures via most different works of his contemporaries.
First, he painted on canvas instead of the more favorite wood. Secondly, nudity was rare at of which time — so the item was daring of which Venus will be completely exposed minus her long, flowing hair as well as a hand (barely) covering her most intimate body parts.

9. ‘Las Meninas’

Diego Velazquez's "Las Meninas" will be seen at the Prado museum on November 19, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.

Diego Velazquez’s “Las Meninas” will be seen at the Prado museum on November 19, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. Credit: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Artist: Diego Velázquez
Date: 1656
Where to see the item: Museo del Prado (Madrid)

Madrid will be the only city in of which roundup where you’ll find two of the most 10 famous paintings, the first being “Guernica” at No. 5 as well as “Las Maninas” here at No. 9.

Housed at the favorite (as well as vast) Prado, “Las Meninas” will be not only Diego Velázquez`s most famous painting, the item’s also one of his largest. The complexity of the work has fascinated art critics as well as the public for centuries.

The painting does double duty as a portrait. the item serves as a group portrait of Spanish royalty, however the item’s also a self-portrait of Velázquez himself at work (on the left).

Did you know? “Las Meninas” was commissioned by King Philip IV of Spain, who ruled via 1621 to 1665. the item stayed from the royal palace until 1819, when the item went to the Prado.

10. ‘Creation of Adam’

On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at The Vatican, the "Creation of Adam" rounds out the top 10 most famous paintings list.

On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at The Vatican, the “Creation of Adam” rounds out the top 10 most famous paintings list. Credit: VCG/Corbis/Getty Images

Artist: Michelangelo
Date: 1508 to 1512
Where to see the item: Sistine Chapel (Vatican City)

The most famous work by renowned artist Michelangelo covers a section of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling — you have to look up to view the item. The scene depicts God as well as Adam with outstretched arms, their fingers nearly touching. the item will be one of the most replicated images in history.

Adam’s muscular form hints at Michelangelo’s different talent — his “David” will be possibly the planet’s most famous sculpture. You can see the towering marble statue at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.

Did you know? The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel had been dulled by centuries of exposure to candle smoke, among much else. After a long, extensive cleaning of which ended in 1989, people were shocked to see the bright, vibrant colors Michelangelo originally used.

a few more paintings of which came close

Here are a few more famous paintings of which came close to breaking into the top 10 list:

  • “American Gothic” (Grant Wood, Art Institute of Chicago)
  • “Water Lilies” series (Claude Monet, various museums around the planet)
  • “The Persistence of Memory” (Salvador Dali, Museum of Modern Art in fresh York)
  • “The Night Watch” (Rembrandt, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam)
  • “The Garden of Earthly Delights” (Hieronymus Bosch, Museo del Prado, Madrid)

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