Thursday, November 10, 2011

The 5 Most Influential Paintings in History

Art has inspired cultures throughout the world for thousands of years. From religion to inspiration, many opinions have been built upon works of some of the world's artists. While art is subjective in nature, we've put together our list of the top 5 most influential paintings in history. The influence a piece of art can have on the world is immense, with the story behind these paintings definitely worth a read.

1. The Scream
The Scream is a series of paintings and prints created by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch from 1893 to 1910. Its iconic images depict a screaming figure against a blood-red sky. Although the figure's pain is clear, commentators have advanced many theories regarding the source of the agony; the proximity of a slaughterhouse and a madhouse close to the depicted scene offer one possible explanation. The various renditions of The Scream have also been involved in multiple high-profile art thefts. One version was stolen from the National Gallery of Norway in 1994 and recovered several months later; another disappeared from the Munch Museum in 2004 and was recovered in 2006.

2. The Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh completed this world-renowned work in 1888. It depicts the village of Saint-RĂ©my under a swirling, starry sky. Although Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime, the posthumous influence of his art is indisputable. Currently displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, The Starry Night is the most famous and arguably greatest work from the impressionist era. The piece has been reproduced multiple times and has inspired many pages of commentary. Its popularity and influence have grown vastly over the past century.

3. The Mona Lisa
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece is perhaps the world's most famous painting, and one of its most influential. It depicts Lisa del Gioncondo, a wealthy Florentine woman. Today the painting is on permanent display at the Louvre in Paris, where over six million visitors come to see it every year. In 1911, Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia stole the painting and, two years later, attempted to sell it to the directors of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Besides this famous theft, the painting has inspired a 1929 film, <i>The General Line</i>, along with multiple parody and referential works by other renowned artists.

4. The Last Supper
Another Da Vinci piece, The Last Supper was completed in the late 15th century. It depicts Jesus Christ's famous last meal, at which he announced that one of his disciples would betray him. In addition to portraying one of the most significant events in Christianity, the Last Supper has been the source of plenty of debate regarding the person seated to Jesus' left. While most art historians agree that the figure is John the Apostle, another popular theory claims that the figure is Mary Magdalene. This theory is at the center of Dan Brown's 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code.

5. The Creation of Adam
Michelangelo painted his masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel from 1508 to 1512. This painting, one of the most famous in the world, depicts nine scenes from the Book of Genesis. Perhaps the most famous of these scenes is the one in which God breathes life into Adam. Over its long history, this painting has been the subject of innumerable references and parodies. Most recently, the image has been adopted by Pastafarians, who replace the image of the Christian God with their Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Rebecca is an interior design expert, specialising in the selection of paint colours, textures and designs for feature walls that really make a difference. She takes her influence from historical pieces and transforms them in to a piece of your home that will be the envy of all your friends. With the careful selection of each step from the undercoat through to the selection of enamel paint and other finishes, she provides you with one of the best in the business.