The oil painting technique dates back to the 7th century AD, with its earliest known samples from Afghanistan. The method became widespread in Europe in the 12th century, after which Europeans dominated the craft leading to the creation of paintings that have withstood the test of times. Today, these oil paintings are famous within the painting community. They are also viewed as masterpieces with tremendous market value, with some going for several millions of dollars. Many of the most popular oil paintings are on display in prominent museums worldwide and are highly protected using special devices.
Famous Oil Paintings in the World
There are different types of oil paintings that are renowned within the art community for their style and color excellence. Below are the most popular oil paintings in the world:
This oil artwork was painted by famous Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci in 1506 with dimensions 77cm by 53cm. This is perhaps the most popular oil painting globally despite lasting for many centuries. The common belief is that the popular portrait depicts Lisa Gherardini, wife of the Italian nobleman Francesco del Giocondo. The artwork is estimated to be worth over $800 million and can be found in Paris’s Louvre Museum.
The Night Watch
This outstanding artwork was painted by Rembrandt van Rijn, a famous Dutch artist, in 1642. Created in the Dutch Age, the work is renowned for the vast canvas it is painted on and the masterly implementation of shadow and light to produce a kind of artistic effect called tenebrism. It has dimensions 363cm by 437cm, with the medium of oil on canvas adopted for this painting. At the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where it is housed, this oil painting has been described as the most well-known artwork.
The Girl with a Pearl Earring
Regarded as one of the most recognizable oil painting portraits in art history, the Girl with a Pearl Earring was painted by famous artist Johannes Vermeer with the medium of oil on canvas. Typical of all Vermeer’s paintings, the painting utilizes the gentle use of darkness and light to produce a kind of artistic effect. It was painted around 1665 during the Dutch Golden age; it has had various names and eventually took on its present name in the 20th century. Presently, the artwork is located in Mauritshuis, an art museum in Hague, Netherlands.
The Starry Night
Celebrated Dutch artist Van Gogh created this famous painting in Western art. It is a brilliant oil on canvas work currently located in the MoMA. It was painted in 1889 as a depiction of Van Gogh’s view of his asylum room, with the addition of a fictional village below the Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. Van Gogh later created different paintings of the view. However, this specific oil painting stands out as the only nocturnal one and has been described as the artist’s masterpiece.
The Old Guitarist
This oil on panel artwork was made by Pablo Picasso from 1903 till 1904. As one of his earlier and most famous works, the painting features an old man who is blind playing his guitar in a regular Barcelona Street. A fascinating truth about this famous painting is that three different characters are hiding beneath the old musician, as X-rays have revealed. This artwork can be found on display at the renowned Art Institute of Chicago.
The world of oil paintings has witnessed the creation of timeless masterpieces that have withstood the test of time. The artworks mentioned above are some of the most popular oil paintings globally!