Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh are the names that come to everyone’s minds when there’s a discussion about famous paintings. While these paintings are indeed remarkable, some modern-day paintings have also made their mark. Can you name a famous modern painting?
Today, let’s look at ten famous modern paintings that have gained worldwide popularity. Let’s delve in.
Table of Contents
Guernica by Pablo Picasso: Famous Modern Painting
Even if you aren’t an ardent art follower, you’ve probably heard of Pablo Picasso. He was a Spanish painter and printmaker known for his remarkable paintings. One of his most famous works is Guernica, which he created in 1937.
The painting portrays the Spanish Civil War in the city of Guernica, which was bombed by Nazi Germani and Fascist Italy. It’s recognized as one of the most powerful war paintings in history and is inarguably one of the most famous pieces of contemporary art.
The Scream by Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch was a Norwegian painter who became one of the most iconic figures in the history of art. His most famous work is The Scream, which is also recognized as one of the most celebrated modern paintings. Edvard’s work focused on expressionism — demonstrating emotional experience instead of physical reality.
The Scream has had various versions between 1893 and 1910, all created by Edward. The painting is somewhat cryptic, and it looks like a disfigured person is screaming on the bridge. Art enthusiasts believe the painting denotes the slow destruction of nature due to urbanization.
The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali was a Spanish painter and surrealist artist known for his craftsmanship and technical skills. One of his most celebrated works is The Persistence of Memory. Again, the image is cryptic, and you may not grasp its message until you look at it carefully multiple times.
The image shows watches melting on a beach with rocks and trees. Dali never explained what the painting meant, though people think it signifies the hard and soft human nature and irrationality of dreams. Some people also believe the melting of watches shows the relativity of time and space.
Water Lilies by Claude Monet: Famous Modern Painting
Claude Monet was a French Painter regarded by many as the precursor to modernism. He painted nature as he looked at it, and his painting Water Lilies is a classic example of that. With this painting, Claude also paved the way for another modern art concept: impressionism.
The painting shows water lilies in a pond. However, the way Claude has focused on the intricacies is remarkable. The closer you look at the painting, the more details you discover. For example, initially, you’ll notice water lilies only. Then, you’ll see water. And when you look closer, you’ll spot the reflection of trees.
The Treachery of Images by Rene Magritte
Rene Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist famous for creating various thought-provoking and witty images. He had a knack for portraying ordinary objects in an unusual manner. The Treachery of Images is one of his most renowned paintings. The painting comprises a pipe; however, Rene mentions below it “Leci n’est pas une pipe,” which means “This is not a pipe.”
What Rene wanted to state here is that the painting itself isn’t a pipe. It’s an image of a pipe, which is true. Not only is The Treachery of Images the most famous painting by Rene Magritte, but it’s also one of the most popular pieces of contemporary art.
Marilyn Diptych by Andy Warhol
Regarded by many as the “Pope of Pop Art,” Andy Warhol was an American artist and filmmaker who introduced the concept of pop art. Marilyn Monroe was a legendary American actress. When she died in August 1962, Andy made the painting titled Marilyn Diptych and released it a few weeks after her death.
The painting included 50 versions of the same image of Marilyn from 1953. The painting was divided into two vertical halves: the left side had 25 colored photos of Marilyn, and the right half had 25 black-and-white images of Marilyn, fading from left to right.
I Still Face You by Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Famous Modern Painting
Fast forward to 2015, and we have Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s masterpiece — I Still Face You. Njideka Akunyili Crosby is a Nigerian visual artist who lives in America and often connects the cultural terrain between the two regions. The painting looks more modern than other ones on this list, but it is by no means less impactful. Through I Still face You, Crosby unites her dual culture experience with a touch of intense personal storytelling. You’ll notice various elements taken from Nigerian folk culture.
The Girl Who Had Everything by Cecily Brown
Cecily Brown, a British painter, is known for her contemporary artworks. One of her most famous works is The Girl Who Had Everything from 1998. When you look at the image, the chances are you won’t figure out anything. Cecily is famous for her abstract expressionism, and that’s what this painting showcases.
If you look at the painting carefully, you’ll notice a mix of biomorphic forms, sexually suggestive figures, and a mix of colors and textures. The focus is to allude to forms instead of giving the viewer a clear and concrete representation.
Untitled by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Let’s end the list with another abstract masterpiece: Untitled by Jean-Michel Basquait. Jean was an American artist who gained popularity during the expressionism movement. He rose to great heights in his 20s; however, his success didn’t last long. He died of a heroin overdose when he was 27.
Untitled is one of his most celebrated pieces of work he created when he was just 20. The painting looks like a skull or a half-formed face. Some people say it denotes death.
Conclusion: Famous Modern Painting
The world is full of amazing artworks; you just need to start looking for them. However, if you thought only ancient painters made great paintings, the paintings discussed above will make you reconsider. Also, there are several other masterpieces of contemporary art that I couldn’t include here.
So, which painting did you like the most and why?