Famous Art Pieces – Part 1

Obviously, art covers many genres and throughout the ages ever since cavemen painted on walls of caves man has been making art. Looking at classic art pieces would take many books to try and cover everything, so this blog just touches on famous paintings and the most popular.

Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci

Star of Hollywood movies, crime books, songs and poetry are the Mona Lisa, the most famous piece of art on the planet. Coined the painting with the most enigmatic smile Mona Lisa is also known as La Giaconda.

Mona Lisa

The painting is supposed to be a portrait of the wife of a wealthy merchant from Florence called Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo. So why is the painting so loved? It is the combination of the figure in the foreground with that most puzzling smile and the backdrop that is so far back in the distance. Because of this one painting, portrait painting would never be the same again, it was a milestone in art development.

The Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli

Another painting with strong connections with Florence, The Birth of Venus was commissioned by the Medici family, and unlike other art pieces at the time it was not painted on wood panels. Instead it was painted on canvas with tempera.

The Birth of Venus

It is one of the great pieces of the Renaissance period with the naked figure representing the ancient world riding on a shell to make it to the shore after her birth from the foaming sea. Waiting for her there is Pomona, the goddess of Spring.

Guernica – Pablo Picasso

Most likely Guernica is the finest piece of art that Picasso ever made. Not just for its artistic qualities but for the political statement it made to damming war. Displayed at the Paris World Fair for the first time in 1937, this gloomy monochrome painting tells the story of the Northern Spanish town Guernica after it was bombed by Nazi planes.

Guernica

It was the first time that a civilian town was raised to the ground by an aerial attack and stood Hitler’s Luftwaffe in great stead as a preparation for the bombing raids in the coming WWII. The painting is disturbing, highlighting mutilated bodies writhing in agony as the terror rains down on them. Picasso captured the hopelessness and futility of war in a very aggressive manner to shock the world and he successfully achieved it with Guernica.

Girl with a Pearl Earring – Johannes Vermeer

This painting is daubed as the Mona Lisa of the North and is a deceptively simple painting by Dutch painter Vermeer. The background is blacked out and all the audience sees is a beautiful young girl with a sparkling pearl earring.

The mystery that surrounds the girl is what is so captivating as many rumors abound that she was actually a servant girl in Vermeer’s household that became his mistress. The Hollywood films The Girl with the Pearl Earring & St Trinians brought fame to this painting, as did the many songs that have been written about it.

These painting come from many different periods of time, but who is to say which is the greater? That is the beauty of art, it lies in the eyes of the beholder. In part two of famous art pieces we look at works by Andy Warhol, Van Gogh and Edward Hopper.