5 Paintings Every Art Lover Should See
5 Famous Paintings Every Art Lover Should Know
If you had to name the five most important paintings in Western art—the ones that most influenced the course of art, or history, or both—what would they be? (Mona Lisa, anybody?) While a fun exercise, when it comes to understanding art, ranking paintings in this way doesn’t help us answer the more profound question of why art, and especially painting, has been so important to Western culture for hundreds of years. In other words, instead of trying to identify the five “most important” paintings—an impossible task, to be sure—what if we picked five paintings that helped us understand the different ways that painting can be used as a meaningful form of communication? These paintings would come from different time periods, genres, and nations, and would outline the different ways that painting has played an important role in Western culture.
These, therefore, are five paintings every art lover should see if they want to understand more about the history and significance of painting—and its continued relevance to our lives.
The 5 Paintings Every Art Lover Should See
- Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, 1434 (National Gallery, London)
- Raphael’s School of Athens, 1509-10 (Vatican, Rome)
- Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, 1658 (Frick Collection, NYC)
- Monet’s Impression, Sunrise, 1872 (Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris)
- A painting to be announced in class!