From Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, our collection of canvas wall art has 100’s of classic and famous art pieces to choose from.
Museums around the world are filled with thousands of unique artworks that attract tourists from just about everywhere. While there are many you should know about, we’ve narrowed down the most famous pieces. From Michelangelo to Frida Kahlo, here are our top ten favourite artists and artworks.
Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People captured a significant moment in French history: the July Revolution of 1830. It is perhaps Delacroix’s most famous painting, unsurprisingly. The female figure leading an array of civilian revolutionaries through the streets of Paris is a bare-chested personification of liberty. She holds in her hands a bayonet and the flag of the revolution. This flag would later be adopted as France’s national flag. The civilians follow her, stepping over a number of dead bodies that are symbolic of the tragic consequence of the civil war. These revolutionaries symbolise aspects of French society that were involved in the revolution. There’s a man representing the bourgeoise, an urban worker, and another younger man represents the students. Liberty Leading the People is one of the most historically important and technically beautiful artworks to emerge from Europe.
Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss raised eyebrows when it was first shown to the Austrian public when he only wanted to express innocent affection. The painting, which depicts two lovers embracing in a sweet kiss, is one in several artworks from Klimt’s ‘Gold Period’. The series of paintings are identified as such thanks to the lavish gold leaves decorating the work, as notable in The Kiss. This period was inspired by the mosaics of Byzantine Art, to whom he was exposed to in 1903 while on a trip to Italy.
One of the most famous artists to come out of the Dutch Golden Age is Johannes Vermeer. In Girl with a Pearl Earring, a young, beautiful girl poses with an oriental headdress and a stunning pearl earring, which dangles from her ear. Vermeer uses a solid black background to enhance her beauty. The painting is not a portrait but rather a study of a style of painting called ‘tronie’, intended to capture her exotic costume.
Vincent van Gogh paints a beautiful night sky in Starry Night. The landscape painting is a burst of colour, from the dazzling yellow stars and moon to the swirls of blue for the night sky. The sleeping village below is that of Saint-Remy in France. It was a landscape van Gogh captured from his bedroom window in an asylum he was staying in. While Starry Night is van Gogh’s most famous artwork, there are others just as well-known, like Sunflowers and his countless self-portraits.
Never has a scene of terror been captured so beautiful than by Edvard Munch in The Scream. Once, when the Norwegian painter was crossing a bridge, he experienced anxiety an endless scream passing through nature. The sky had turned blood red and paralysed Munch with angst, not far from Christiania. This experience soon after became The Scream and became one of the early examples of Expressionism. The figure pictured is hairless. It has its hands on its face and wears an expression that haunts viewers over a hundred years after its creation.
In Guernica, Pablo Picasso captures the horrors of the Spanish Civil War like no other painter of his time. Guernica intends to not only depict the war, but he does so in the new form of Cubism. Picasso painted this piece as a reaction to the Nazi bombardment of the Spanish town of Guernica in the Basque region. Guernica is made memorable for its limited colour palette of grey, blue, and black to effectively capture the bleakness of the aftermath.
In the late 1800s, when Claude Monet moved to Giverny, perhaps no one could guess that the famed Impressionist painter would spend his days amongst his beloved flowers and pond. Those closest to him may have known that Monet would become fixated with the colour and everchanging light and would capture this movement in a number of paintings. These last thirty years of his life were spent amongst flower buds, bees, and water lilies, a pleasurable sight that has been expressed in paintings found in museums across the world.
The Mona Lisa is recognised around the world. It’s a name and face that has enticed many spectators over the last five hundred years. Da Vinci, a successful artist in his time, painted The Mona Lisa on poplar wood, which has warped and splintered over time. The Mona Lisa is secured behind a sheet of glass to protect it from her millions of admirers who pass through the Louvre.
Botticelli depicts the goddess Venus as she is born, emerging from the sea like a divine goddess, in The Birth of Venus. In her ranks are Zephyr and Chloris, who, with their great lungs, blow Venus to the shoreline of Cyprus. Another figure is the Goddess of Spring, Hora. Botticelli was madly in love with the woman who modelled as Venus, who was said to be the mistress of one of the Medicis.
Leonardo da Vinci captured the last night Jesus Christ dined with his apostles in The Last Supper. At first glance, it seems like the artist captured the men enjoying a humble meal. If you look closely, da Vinci actually captured a significant moment of the night, where Christ reveals to his disciples that one among them would betray him. The twelve men wear a mixture of expressions, from shock to anger and horror. Meanwhile, Judas holds in his hands a bag of silver, symbolising the cost of his betrayal.
Vincent van Gogh found very little success and support for his paintings while he was alive. He was often ridiculed and sold only one artwork. He did, however, have a strong relationship with his younger brother, the art dealer Theo, who often supported van Gogh emotionally and financially. These days, van Gogh is a household name thanks to his bold, fearless, and unique paintings. The Dutch artist painted a number of works in his lifetime, despite his constant battle with mental illness. His subject matter ranged from portraiture, still life, landscapes, and self-portraits. Inspiration for paintings came from daily life and personal belongings, friends and family.
Claude Monet is recognized as the pioneer of the Impressionist movement and, along with his good friend Edouard Manet, led a group of young artists away from the conventions of their time. In fact, it was his artwork Impression, Sunrise that gave the movement its name. Monet was a proponent of en plein air, a painting method that required the artist to paint under natural light so as to capture its effects on subjects. For the last thirty years of his life, Monet receded away from the chaos of Paris to live quietly amongst the flowers in Giverny.
The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is well known for her self-portraits that boast bright colours, her exotic pets, and a stark depiction of the self. She began painting while recovering from a bus accident in 1925, which left her in pain for the rest of her life.
The Italian Renaissance produced many great artists, none greater than Leonardo da Vinci. Born outside Florence, Italy, da Vinci was fifteen when he began an apprenticeship with Andrea del Verrocchio, who trained many great artists of the Italian Renaissance. Although da Vinci showed a great deal of talent even in his youth, he only painted a handful of artworks. A man with a curious mind, da Vinci was also an engineer, draughtsman, sculptor, and theorist, among other things.
Salvador Dali was the superstar of the Surrealist movement since its formation. Dali favoured the ideals of the movement, which asked the artist to reject the logical aspects of the world and tap into their unconscious mind and imagination, which Dali gladly did.
Jackson Pollock was unique amongst painters as he was the Abstract Expressionists thanks to his drip technique. He didn’t care much for easels and preferred to lay his canvases flat on the floor, really allowing his body and paint to move freely around the canvas. It also allowed him to view the canvas from all angles. A long-time alcoholic, Pollock died at age forty-four following a car accident where he was the driver.
The man who liked tomato soup and celebrity alike, Andy Warhol features these two elements of mass culture in his artworks. He was one of the figureheads of Pop Art, and became his own celebrity, throwing outrages parties in his studio called The Factory. Consumer culture fascinated Warhol, who used Brillo boxes, soup cans, movie stills, and more as subjects for his artworks. Warhol first started in commercial art before making the leap to fine art.
The greatest name in art in the twentieth century is that of Pablo Picasso. The artist, born in Malaga, Spain, was a child prodigy of art. To support their genius child, the family moved to Barcelona so Picasso could study at the School of Fine Arts. His experiments in painting flipped the art world upside down. Among these experiments was Cubism, which broke down reality in geometrical shapes.
Graffiti has its star, and that is the British artist Banksy. His work first appeared on the streets in the 1990s, before becoming well known in 2002 for his stencil Balloon Girl. He is one in a handful of street artists that has shifted from street art to fine art, with his work being auctioned by the likes of Sotheby’s for millions of dollars. Banksy’s identity remains anonymous. He continues to create prolific and political artworks around the world.
Michelangelo is known for painting various sights in the Vatican, like the famed Sistine Chapel and the Pieta (1499). His contributions to Catholic art are remarkable and continue to stun audiences who make the pilgrimage to the Vatican to see his work. Like Picasso, Michelangelo’s talent was recognised at a young age. It won him a ticket to live in the Medici household, where he was able to nurture his talent. The first commission he won was for the Pieta, which shows Mary holding the body of her son.