Whether you are looking for inspiration for a new home decor project or looking for new fashion ideas, art is the answer. Throguhout history, art set the tone of the era and brought people together. Though art is constantly evolving and new works are created on the daily, some traditional works of art remain the most legendary. Here is a list of the world's most iconic art pieces.
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da VinciLeonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Probably the world's most famous painting, painted by Leonardo da Vinci sometime between 1503 and 1519. Multiple specualtions exist around the identity of the lady portrayed in the oil painting. The most prevelant position is that it is Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of Franceso di Bartolomeo del Giocondo, a Florentine merchant. This identification of the portrait's sitter earned the painting the alternative title, La Gioconda. Many have tried to pinpoint the reason that this painting received the attention it did. Some suggest that it is due to the misterious expresion or the suggestive smile, but many theories exist. The painting of course posses excellent quality on its own right, but the events around it probably helped to its gained popularity. While the portrait was presented in the Louvre Museum in Paris, it was stolen in the summer of 1911. The police originally suspected anyone objecting traditional art, and for a period of time, even Pablo Picasso was a prominent suspect. It was found 2 years later, when Vincenzo Perugia, a Louvre employee at the time of the theft, tried to sell it to an art gallery. Perugia's defence was that he was returning the Mona Lisa home, after it was abducted by Napoleon. Thankfully, the Mona Lisa made its way back and it now has its own room in the Louvre.
The Creation of Adam by MichelangeloMichelangelo Buonarroti [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This fresco painting by Michelangelo forms part of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, a large papal chapel inside the Vatican. It illustrates the creation of Adam as narrated in the Book of Genesis. The near-touching hands image of God and Adam, where God gives life to Adam, became an iconic figure of humanity. The fact that the fingers are not touching symbolizes that Adam is yet to receive life from God. This art created by Michelangelo is one of the most replicated religious paintings of all time.
The Birth of Venus by Sandro BotticelliSandro Botticelli [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The painting by Sandro Botticelli was created in the mid 1480s. It depicts the arrival of the goddess Venus at shore after birth. Venus is not the only goddess in the paintitng. At the left, blowing at her, is the wind god Zephyr. The female he is carrying is thought to be "Aura", the personification of a light breeze. They are helping to blow Venus closer to shore. The female waiting for Venus on shore, ready to cover her with a cloak is one of the three Horae, the Greek minor goddesses of the seasons. This one is believed to be Spring based on the decorations on her dress. Venus' appearance in this painting became a marker for beauty standards in other eras. Today the painting is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes VermeerJohannes Vermeer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This tronie, a type of work common in Dutch golden Age that shows an exaggerated facial expression or a stock character in costume, was selected in 2006 as the most beautiful painting in the Netherlands. The oil painting by Johannes Vermeer is believed to be created in 1965 and to depict the artist's oldest daughter, Maria. The unique facial expression creates the illusion that the observer is interacting with the girl and creates a feeling of intimacy. The novel "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (1999) by Tracy Chevalier is an example of fictional art created as a result curiosity around the origin of the painting. A film and a play later followed. The painting has been part of the Mauritshuis collection in the Hague since 1902.
Starry Night by Vincent Van GoghVincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Painted within an asylum in France, Vincent van Gogh created this masterpiece of a painting months before committing suicide. Following his 1888 breakdown, which ended up in the self-mutilation of his left ear, Van Gogh admitted himself to a lunatic asylum in 1889. The view from his east facing window was the inspiration for the painting, which he described in a letter to his brother. The painting has been an inspiration to many works of art nowadays and elements of it were used in the poster for the Woody Allen movie "Midnight in Paris". Since 1941, it has been part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
American Gothic by Grant WoodGrant Wood [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Grant Wood painted this couple in 1930 after he was inspired by the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa. He described them as the kind of people he imagined would live in this house. The feamle was modeled after the artist's sister, while the male after their dentist Dr. Byron McKeeby. Before this painting, Wood was a 39 year old poor aspiring artist, living in the attic of a funeral home carriage house with his mother and sister. Though the painting gave him world recognition, the people of Iowa didn't like it as they felt that the painting is not shedding a positive light on them. Today, the house in the painting is a museum, celebrating both Wood and his art.