Artwork has a way of transcending borders. It connects humanity as a whole. Certain art pieces will often linger in our collective memory, surviving the artist by decades, if not centuries.
Art can contain specific cultural meanings, historical messages, and beauty - all in one. This is one of the reasons why people find it so easy to connect with art. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most iconic artwork of all time.
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
No art list is complete without the Mona Lisa. This is perhaps the most famous painting of all time. Many credit the mysterious smile as the reason this painting became so renowned. Maybe the mystery and the story of this painting keep it in our hearts. The Mona Lisa has been through much over the years, including theft, acid, and more. Those wanting to see the Mona Lisa will need to head to the Louvre.
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
There’s no denying that da Vinci’s work had a lasting impact on art and how we view it. For this reason, two of his pieces must be included on the list. Next is The Last Supper, created sometime between 1495 and 1498. This fresco depicts Jesus having his last meal with his disciples. The Last Supper lives in Santa Maria delle Grazie (Milan, Italy).
Easter Island Statues
The Easter Island Statues are arguably one of the largest pieces of artwork on this list. Built sometime between c. 1000 and 1300 A.D., there are over three hundred Easter Island Statues. Their signature look has rectangular heads, large eye sockets, and broad noses. Most shockingly - the massive heads have large bodies buried beneath the surface.
The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli painted The Birth of Venus during the mid-1480s. His piece became the iconic representation of the Italian Renaissance, considered the epitome of Renaissance Neo-Platonism. For those wanting to see The Birth of Venus in person, they’ll have to visit the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh had a unique and spectacular way of viewing the world. While his artwork wasn’t appreciated during his lifetime, his paintings are now considered priceless. Many of his paintings have become famous and historically relevant. One of his most popular paintings would have to be The Starry Night. Countless artistic and scientific papers have been conducted regarding this piece, showing that we still have much to learn about art and history.
Terra Cotta Army
Art pieces can come in all styles and sizes. Take the Terra Cotta Army. These are grand in scale - and even greater in number. They were created sometime during the third century B.C. and total over eight thousand figures. Their historic purpose is to guard Qin Shi Huang - China’s first emperor.
The Scream by Edvard Munch
When it comes to oddly unsettling paintings, The Scream takes the cake. The Scream became (more) famous following its infamous theft and recovery. Interestingly enough, The Scream is a set - with two paintings and two pastels (plus an unknown number of prints). The Scream is currently in the National Museum of Oslo, Norway.
The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai
Created in 1831, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa is another famous piece of art history. It is one of a series, all created through block print art. The series itself is titled Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. This series helped to influence the Impressionist movement, showcasing how art can (and does) influence art. Likewise, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa is believed to be the most reproduced piece in history.
American Gothic by Grant Wood
Spend any time watching classic cartoons, and you’ll likely see a stylized version of American Gothic appear. That’s how prevalent this piece is in American culture and history. Interestingly, the term “American Gothic” applies to both the couple and the arched windows set in the background.