10 Most Famous paintings in the world and where to see them

Throughout the centuries, several paintings have achieved world recognition across all ages and many societies due to their unique display of talent and style

Most of the world’s famous paintings are oil on canvas pieces that have stood the test of time and have had a lasting impression on those who have seen it. These art pieces have been preserved in several galleries around the world from where they can be viewed. Famous paintings are at a constant threat of damage from theft and aging. Museums and galleries have the task and the responsibility of keeping these masterpieces safe and restoring them to their original condition to prolong their lives and significance for posterity.

10. Whistler’s Mother (James McNeill Whistler, 1871)

Location: Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Whistler's Mother

Whistler’s Mother, or the Arrangement in Grey and Black, was painted in 1871 by James McNeill Whistler showing his mother seated on a chair against a gray wall. The painting is displayed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

9. The Persistence Of Memory (Salvador Dali, 1931)

Location: Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Persistence Of Memory

The Persistence of Memory was painted by Salvador Dali in 1931. It is one of his most famous paintings. The Persistence of Memory depicts melting clock faces and is thought to have been inspired by the Theory of Relativity. The painting is displayed at the MoMA.

8. The Night Watch (Rembrandt, 1642)

Location: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Night Watch

The Night Watch was painted by Rembrandt in 1642. It depicts the departure of a city led by its captain. The painting is displayed at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The unique dark varnish makes the painting take on the appearance of a night scene.

7. The Birth Of Venus (Sandro Botticelli, mid-1480s)

Location: Uffizi Gallery, Florence

The Birth Of Venus

The Birth of Venus depicts the emergence of the goddess Venus from the sea. The painting was made by Sandro Botticelli in the mid-1480s. The painting is on display in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

6. Guernica (Picasso, 1937)

Location: Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid


Guernica is a Picasso painting showing the bombing of Spain’s city of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The 1937 painting is housed in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. It is considered to be one of the most important anti-war works of art in history. Although the painting is held among high esteem now, it did not automatically gather critical appeal upon its reveal.

5. The Girl With A Pearl Earring (Johannes Vermeer, 1665)

Location: Mauritschuis, The Hague

The Girl With A Pearl Earring

The Girl With a Pearl Earring is a work of art by Johannes Vermeer. It was painted around 1665 and portrays a turbaned girl with a pearl earring. The painting has been called the “Dutch Mona Lisa”, mostly due to the ambiguous expression of the subject. The painting is on display in Mauritschuis in The Hague, Netherlands.

4. The Scream (Edvard Munch, 1893)

Location: National Gallery, Oslo

The Scream

The Scream, one of the world’s most famous paintings of all time, was painted by Edvard Munch in 1893. The painting shows a frightened person screaming. The painting is housed in the National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. One interesting fact about this painting is the fact that has often been a target of art heists. The last time the painting was stolen was in 2004. It was missing for two years before finally being recovered in 2006.

3. The Starry Night (Vincent van Gogh, 1889)

Location: Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Starry Night

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It is one of the western world’s most famous paintings. The painting was made in 1889 and depicts the city of Saint-Remy under the swirling sun. It has been at the MoMA in New York since 1941. The painting was completed after Van Gogh’s famous 1888 mental breakdown, in which the artist had famously removed his own ear.

2. The Last Supper (Leonardo da Vinci, 1495-1498)

Location: Santa Maria Delle Grazie Monastery, Milan

The Last Supper

The Last Supper is a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The painting depicts the Last Supper of Jesus and His disciples. It is said to portay the confusion that ensued after Jesus declared that one of them would betray him. The painting was made between 1495 and 1498 and is placed in the Santa Maria Delle Grazie Monastery in Milan.

1. Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1506)

Location: The Louvre, Paris

Mona Lisa

Inarguably the most famous painting to have ever been created in the Western World, the Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1503 and 1506. He finished working on it in 1519. The painting is displayed in Louvre museum of Paris. It is believed to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, an Italian noblewoman. The painting is famous for its subtlety, composition, and inexplicable facial expression of the subject.

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