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The most famous Paintings in the world: where they are and how much they are worth

There are paintings that, even if we have never seen them live, remain indelible in the memory of all of us. Innovative works for their time, bizarre, sublime. If we asked all of you to list 20 almost certainly more than half would be the same. A case? Definitely no. To "complete" the list, we will reveal what they are the 20 most famous paintings in the world and the museums where you can admire them.


Source: wikipedia - Author: Salvador Dal ?: Fair use - License: Fair use Source: wikipedia - Author: Pablo Picasso: Fair use - License: Fair use Source: wikipedia - Author: Claude Monet - License: CC BY-SA 3.0 / 20

1 - The Persistence of Memory, Moma - New York (Usa)

Surrealist work par excellence where a deserted and desolate land is depicted in which there are some soft clocks. They, almost fluid, they symbolically represent the elasticity of time. Dalì created this work by observing and philosophically reflecting on the "hyper-softness" of the cheese he was eating.




  • Author: Salvador Dalì
  • Date: 1931
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 24x33
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

2 - Ball at the Moulin de la Galette, Musée d'Orsay - Paris (France)

A moment of Parisian life in an atmosphere of happy abandon, where the light-heartedness and the taste of the Belle Époque are present. The Moulin de la Galette, set up in an old mill, was located at the top of the hill of Montmartre, the Parisian artists' quarter. The name of the place referred to the sweets (galettes) that were offered as a drink included in the admission price.

  • Author: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Date: 1876
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 131x175
  • Economic Value Estimate: Sold by Betsey Whitney to Ryoei Saito in 1990 for $ 78,1 million (revalued 127,4)

3 - La Gioconda, Louvre Museum - Paris (France)

Also known as Monnalisa, it is a painting by the brilliant Leonardo da Vinci. Iconic and mysterious work, it is certainly the most famous portrait in history. The imperceptible smile of the girl portrayed has inspired critics, writers and scholars over the centuries.
The work traditionally represents Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo (hence the nickname "la Gioconda").


  • Author: Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Date: 1503/1506 circa
  • Technique: oil on board
  • Measurements: cm 77x53
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

4 - Starry Night, Moma - New York (Usa)

The painting depicts a nocturnal landscape of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise.
The work is full of symbolic meanings. The painting was created with a particular pictorial technique: the color, in fact, of a very fluid consistency, was spread with a minimum thickness and small close touches, deliberately leaving tiny empty spaces from which to glimpse the texture of the underlying canvas which, in correspondence of the stars, thus simulates their flickering.


  • Author: Vincent Van Gogh
  • Date: 1889
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 72x92
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

5 - The Scream, National Gallery - Oslo (Norway)

It is a famous painting by the Norwegian painter and, as for his other works, it was created in multiple versions, four in total.
The starting point for this work is autobiographical and Munch himself talks about it in a diary page. The version of L'Urlo exhibited at the Munch Museum was the subject of two thefts.

  • Author: Edvard Munch
  • Date: 1893
  • Technique: oil, tempera, pastel on cardboard
  • Measurements: cm 91x73,5
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

6 - Guernica, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia - Madrid (Spain)

Made in memory of April 26, 1937 for the aerial bombardment of the Basque city of the same name during the Spanish Civil War, Guernica became a very popular work. It is a painting of protest against violence, destruction and war in general.


  • Author: Pablo Picasso
  • Date: 1937
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 349x777
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

7 - The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Mauritshuis - The Hague (Netherlands)

It is one of the artist's best-known paintings, also thanks to a 2003 novel and film (with Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth) of which he was the subject. The absence of iconographic attributes has never allowed identification of the splendid girl. The drop-shaped pearl earring clashes with the modest conditions of the girl. According to some studies carried out, a pearl of this size would not exist in nature, therefore it was assumed that it was a blown glass imitation of Venetian production.


  • Author: Jean Vermeer
  • Date: circa 1665-1666
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 44,5x39
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

8 - No. 5 - 1948, Private Collection (New York, USA)

An innovative work of its kind, bizarre, created with synthetic colors and resins cast on the support used as a canvas. A kind of network made of gray, brown, white and yellow "threads" that to many onlookers appear to be the intertwining of a nest of some unknown bird. This abstract creation of the great Pollock is truly of enormous value!

  • Author: Jackson Pollock
  • Date: 1948
  • Technique: Oil on fiberboard
  • Dimensions: 2,4 × 1,2 m
  • Economic Value Estimate: Sold by David Geffen to David Martinez in 2006 for $ 140 million (now revalued at 148,1)

9 - The Birth of Venus, Uffizi Gallery - Florence (Italy)

An absolute masterpiece! A true icon of the Italian Renaissance, sometimes considered a symbol of Florentine art. The Birth of Venus is always considered the ideal of female beauty in art, just as David is considered the canon of male beauty.

  • Author: Sandro Botticelli
  • Date: circa 1482-1485
  • Technique: tempera on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 172x278
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

10 - The Son of Man, private collection

This work depicts, in the foreground, a man whose face is almost completely hidden by a green apple suspended in the air. In the background we find an ocean and a cloudy sky. Referring to his painting, Magritte stated that everything we see hides another.
The work also expresses one strong criticism of the bourgeois class (symbolized by the character's formal dress) that the artist considered hypocritical and mean.

  • Author: René Magritte
  • Date: 1964
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 116x89
  • Estimate of economic value: not public

11 - One Sunday Afternoon on Grande-Jatte Island, The Art Institute, Chicago (USA)

It is one of the most important paintings in history as it inspired artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Alfred Sisley, as well as influencing the Cubist and Futurist current. The work owes its name to what it depicts: the island of Grande-Jatte, on the Parisian Seine, on a Sunday afternoon. It is the iconography of free time of the new bourgeois and industrial society of the late th century.

  • Author: George-Pierre Seurat
  • Date: 1883-1885
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 207,6x308
  • Estimate of the economic value: currently incalculable

12 - The Massacre of the Innocents, private collection

The work narrates in a tragic and strong way an episode of the Gospel: the so-called massacre of the innocents. It is a canvas rich in details, so much so as to make the painting almost alive in the eyes of the viewer. Incredibly this work was long forgotten and believed to be the creation of a minor artist for a cataloging error due to a previous imperfect transcription. Even the owner had relegated it to a secondary room!

  • Author: Peter Paul Rubens
  • Date: 1611
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: in reality they are two works of 182x140 cm, although the most famous is one
  • Economic Value Estimate: Sold by an Austrian family to Kenneth Thompson in 2002 for $ 76,7 million (revalued at $ 90,9)

13 - American Gothic, Art Institute, Chicago (Usa)

Wood wanted depict the traditional roles of man and woman in the Midwest and he created the work in a curious way: the model is his sister, the man pictured is his dentist, the building is a house that he noticed on his trip to Iowa. Each element that makes up the picture was painted separately and the models posed at different times and never stopped in front of the house.

  • Author: Grant Wood
  • Date: 1930
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 74,3x62,4
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

14 - The Kiss, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna (Austria)

At the center of an abstract place two lovers hug each other and indulge in an intense kiss. Klimt is able to masterfully convey the moment in which the male and female universe manage to interpenetrate. The elegance and the mystical-erotic aura made this work the main exponent of the taste of the Belle Époque.

  • Author: Gustav Klimt
  • Date: 1907-1908
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 180x180
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

15 - Olympia, Musée d'Orsay, Paris (France)

It represents a prostitute of the same name staring at the observer with a defiant gaze maintaining a contemptuous pose, reminiscent of the pornographic images of the time.

  • Author: Édouard Manet
  • Date: 1863
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 130,5x190
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

16 - Portrait of the Arnolfini couple, National Gallery, London (UK)

Considered among the artist's masterpieces, it is also one of the most significant works of Flemish painting. The complexity of the painting and its enigmatic aura meant that several questions were asked about it, still unanswered.

  • Author: Jan Van Eyck
  • Date: 1434
  • Technique: oil on board
  • Measurements: cm 81,8x59,7
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

17 - Ophelia, Tate Gallery, London (UK)

The canvas is inspired by the character of Ophelia, William Shakespeare's Hamlet, just fallen into the stream that will be his grave.
He chose the model Elizabeth Siddal, wife of his friend Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and to reproduce the drowning scene, Millais asked the girl to immerse herself in a heated bathtub with candles.

  • Author: John Everett Millais
  • Date: 1851-1852
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 76,2x111,8
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

18 - The Water Lilies, Several museums

The water lilies are a group of 250 paintings depicting the water lilies located in the author's garden. Monet immortalized the inverted reflections of the water lilies combined with the sky and trees during the various hours of the day. What resulted was a kaleidoscope of color, light and a kind of static happiness on the surface of the water.
Water lilies can be found scattered in various museums, including the National Gallery (London), the Metropolitan Museum (New York) and the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Rome)

  • Author: Claude Monet
  • Date: 1899 onwards
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: different sizes. Le Ninfee is a series of 250 paintings
  • Estimate of the economic value: incalculable

19 - The Dance Class, Musée d'Orsay, Paris (France)

The painting portrays some dancers during a dance lesson given by the elder Jules Perrot in a room of the Opera in Rue Le Peletier. As in his other works, this image also represents "a random moment out of a thousand possible". Degas loved to represent his subjects as if he were "spying on them through a keyhole".

  • Author: Edgar Degas
  • Date: 1873-1875
  • Technique: oil on canvas
  • Measurements: cm 85x75
  • Estimate of economic value: incalculable

20 - The Lady with an Ermine, Wawel Castle, Krakow (Poland)

Scholars have identified the woman portrayed as the young lover of Ludovico il Moro, Cecilia Gallerani.
The stoat has been painted with precision, but the morphology appears to be more similar to that of a ferret.

  • Author: Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Date: 1488-1490
  • Technique: oil on board
  • Measurements: cm 54,8x40,3
  • Estimation of the economic value: In December 2016 the work, together with the entire Czartorysky collection, was sold to the Warsaw government for about 100 million euros, creating quite a bit of controversy, since the total value would be 2 billion
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