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The Most Famous Oil Paintings Part 1

Updated: May 10

Oil paint is one of the most popular artistic mediums as it’s easy to use and has an exhaustive expanse of colors. Not only that but also it is special because of its layering ability and the transportability of the medium, we can say that oil paints are here to stay! Also, oil painting has one unique and most important characteristic is the thin coating of oil on each particle of pigment.

Throughout the years, many masters created their most popular artworks using oil painting on canvas as the medium, and many artists have left behind a fantastic legacy of beautiful and famous oil paintings.

There are a lot of things to know and discover about oil painting but first, let’s know more about the most famous oil paintings in history, shall we?

Famous Oil Paintings Throughout The Years

Since the beginning of painting with oil, artists have created different techniques and styles simply by experimenting with the mixture of colors and application of the paint to the canvas, creating layers, shadows, and textures, to help them paint some of the most famous masterpieces that exist.

In this article, we shall discuss three of the most famous paintings in history:

  1. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

  2. The Starry Night  by Vincent van Gogh

  3. The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

The Mona Lisa Oil Painting
The Mona Lisa Oil Painting

The Mona Lisa Oil Painting

The Mona Lisa is created by the master artist Leonardo Da Vinci in 1506, it is one of the most iconic images in the world. The Mona Lisa, an Italian Renaissance masterpiece that’s regarded as an archetype of its time in history, representing the greatest qualities of the period and attracting the attention of millions of viewers each year in the Louvre Museum in Paris, where it is housed.

The Mona Lisa is not only one of the most famous artworks in history but also it has a unique feature that sparked a debate for decades and that’s her smile! If you don’t know, there are many assumptions about the woman in the picture.

Another point of contention over the years has been who the Mona Lisa is supposed to depict. The dominant theory, however, is that the famous oil painting portrait depicts Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a nobleman named Francesco del Giocondo. Typical of portraits from the time, the model is shown with only the upper half of her body in front of a natural landscape.

The Starry Night Oil Painting
The Starry Night Oil Painting

The Starry Night Oil Painting

Who doesn’t know about Starry Night? The Starry Night was created by the famous Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, however, during a fractious period in the life of the famous painter.

Van Gogh is best known for famously chopping off his ear, he was burdened by psychosis as well as delusions. This would eventually result in a detention stint in a mental institution.

Vincent van Gogh painted this masterpiece there in 1889. The majority of his life, however, was marked by dark moments, and it was only after his suicide that he achieved the fame that had surprised him throughout his career. You wouldn't be able to tell if that's a good or a bad thing, however, we're so very glad that we got to see this beautiful artwork.

The Starry Night is thought to be the view from his asylum room window, portraying a landscape just before dawn. Specific elements of the mixture, such as the rolling waves of blue as well as the illumination from the pulsating stars, are almost peace-loving, but the painting also reveals disturbing undercurrents of confusion, as seen in van Gogh's use of spirals and spiky features on the landscape.

"All in all the only things I consider a little good in it are the Wheatfield, the Mountain, the Orchard, the Olive trees with the blue hills, and the Portrait and the Entrance to the quarry, and the rest says nothing to me." That was van Gogh's words to Theo, as he firmly believed that the painting was a failure when he finished it.

The Old Guitarist Oil Painting
The Old Guitarist Oil Painting

The Old Guitarist Oil Painting

An artwork for Pablo Picasso? For sure, it must be one of the greatest artworks in history.

Let me introduce the Old Guitarist masterpiece by Pablo Picasso. The Old Guitarist is one of Pablo Picasso’s earlier works, however, it is just as famous as his later pieces. The famous artwork was created from 1903 until 1904.

So, what is the Old Guitarist painting about? The painting portrays an elderly blind man playing guitar on the streets of Barcelona, Spain. Picasso was warm-hearted to those who struggled with poverty, as he had done.

What was the influence that affected Picasso throughout this period? Picasso was influenced by several movements during this period of his career, such as Symbolism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and also Modernism.

How was Picasso’s life during this period? Well, it wasn’t that easy for him, he didn’t have a good life, as he was living in poverty and he also experienced a traumatic event as his friend had just committed suicide, resulting in his blue period. However, the only shift in color in the composition can be found in the brown guitar the man holds.

Moreover, three separate figures were painted behind the guitar at some point, according to modern X-rays of the painting. The masterpiece of Pablo Picasso can be seen at the Art Institute of Chicago.

It was extremely exciting to show you the history of these famous oil paintings in history. However, the list still goes on, wait for the most famous oil paintings in history part 2!

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