Updated: Jul 26
We talked about some of the most famous oil paintings earlier in the previous article.
And in this article, we get a closer look at beautiful artworks of oil paintings by great masters who used oil painting on canvas as the medium.
Oil painting has been admired throughout history because artists created different techniques and styles simply by experimenting with the mixture of colors and application of the paint to the canvas.
Let’s discover more famous oil paintings, shall we?
Girl with a Pearl Earring Oil Painting
"Vermeer the master of light."
This oil painting is considered Johannes Vermeer’s most famous painting. It was created back in 1665 by the dutch artist. This oil painting is not a portrait, but a “tronie”, a painting of an imaginary figure. What are tronies? Tronies depict a certain type or character, and in this case of the oil painting, it is a girl in an exotic dress wearing an oriental turban and an improbably large pearl in her ear.
It is known that Vermeer was the master of light, and in the oil painting it is obvious in the softness of the girl’s face and the glimmers of light on her moist lips, and we can’t forget, the shining pearl. You can check the Girl with a Pearl Earning oil painting at Mauritshuis museum, as it is available for public view.
The Night Watch Oil Painting
"The Night Watch was completed in 1642."
"Civic guardsmen as the defenders of their cities."
This masterpiece is one of the greatest dutch oil paintings in history by Rembrandt
To your surprise, the oil painting doesn’t represent a night scene at all, it actually takes place during the day, and the title of the artwork was not given y Rembrandt, it was first applied at the end of the 18th century.
Also, this oil painting is an example of a very specific type of painting that was only exclusive to the Northern Netherlands. So what is the artwork about? the Night Watch simply represents a group portrait of a company of civic guardsmen and their main purpose is to serve as the defenders of their cities. For that reason, they were obligated to guard the gates, put out fires, police streets, and generally maintain order throughout the city.
It is believed that the master Rembrandt has a cameo role in this artwork, even though it is not easy to spot him, however, you can see a beret and half an eye, and this is believed to be the artist.
Sunrise Impression Oil Painting
"Sunrise Impression is now placed in Musee Marmottan in Paris."
"A masterpiece we’re all impressed about by Claude Monet!"
Impression, Sunrise, is said to have started the impression movement. “Put Impression”, is what Monet said when they needed a title for the catalog for the first Impressionist exhibition in the 1800s.
The artwork depicted the Le Harve harbor and the sun rising in the distance. This oil painting was unique because it evoked different critiques and responses when it was exhibited, and then it became one of the most important paintings of Impressionism. It was created in 1872 and its estimated worth is around $250- $350 million.
It was also painted as part of a series of other waterscapes or landscapes that depicted the harbor in the city called Le Havre in Normandy, France. Sunrise Impression is now placed in Musee Marmottan in Paris.
Lady with an Ermine Oil Painting
"Masterpiece is by Leonardo da Vinci."
This oil painting masterpiece is by Leonardo da Vinci, from around 1486-1490.
The artwork presents a portrait of a woman who is identified as Cecilia Gallerani, it was probably painted at a time when she was the mistress of Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan and Leonardo was in the service of the Duke.
The artwork is one of the most significant works in all of Western art. To your surprise, the painting was heavily over-painted and the entire background was darkened, not only that but also the dress below the ermine was retouched and a transparent veil being worn by the lady, matter of fact, was repainted to match the color of her hair.
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee Oil Painting
"The amazing oil painting is missing since 1990."
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is the only seascape or Rembrandt, it was created back in 1633, right after Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam from his native Leiden when he was establishing himself as the city’s leading painter of historical subjects and portraits. The early style of Rembrandt is obvious in the detailed rendering of the figures’ varied expressions, the scene, the relatively polished brushwork, and we can’t forget the bright colors.
It is said that Rembrandt painted the Storm on the Sea of Galilee just to put himself in the event through his imagination to inspire faith in the Biblical text, in order to affirm its occurrence.
The meaning behind the artwork of the Storm on the Sea of Galilee is that it depicts Jesus calming the waves of the sea, and in return, he saves the lives of the fourteen men aboard the vessel. Moreover, it is said that among these fourteen men, Rembrandt, as a matter of fact, included a self-portrait of himself in the boat right next to Jesus and his twelve disciples.
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee was completed in 1633. Unfourtanely, this amazing oil painting is missing since 1990 but before it went missing it was placed in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston.
These are not the only famous oil paintings in history, there are many more. Follow us and stay updated to know more about the story and history behind more famous paintings!