This part, we shall examine the great art of Western Civilization. For this post, I have combined two articles. Each deal with the 10 greatest pieces of art. One was from the Guardian; the other was biography online. Here are their selections. I am not now, nor ever claimed to be an art expert. But, I know what I like. Some of these would not make my top 10, in truth, to me the Jackson Pollock, wouldn’t even be art. Like I said, I am no expert. The one thing that should stand out to everyone. This art spans over 30,000 years. How many civilizations must have risen and fallen.
All comments made are from the original articles.
Mona Lisa – Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci worked on his masterpiece over a period of 20 years. He carried it with him everywhere. The enigmatic smile has captured the imagination of the world. I love this painting because it is very human, but also gives a glimpse of the world beyond, the transcendental.
Creation of Adam – Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo
Michelangelo took four years to paint the Sistine Chapel. He chose scenes from the Old Testament. This is the epic moment of God creating Adam. How similar God is to man in this picture.
Cafe Terrace at Night – Vincent Van Gogh
The genius of Vincent Van Gogh is captured in this atmospheric portrayal of French cafe life at night.
The Starry Night – Vincent Van Gogh (1889)
It shows the view from the east-facing window of his room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (with the addition of an idealised village) It has been voted the most popular watercolour.
Poppies in a Field – Claude Monet
Claude Monet is one of the great impressionist painters. This wonderful pastoral scene captures the essence of how the impressionists captured the beauty and simplicity of nature.
Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee – Rembrandt
Rembrandt captures the drama and emotion of this epic scene from the Gospels. Note his effective use of light and dark to highlight the drama of the scene.
The Girl With a Pearl Earring – Jan Vermeer
Jan Vermeer was relatively unknown in his lifetime. But, this fascinating portrait (somewhat reminiscent of the Mona Lisa) is a beautiful example of the Baroque style.
Le Moulin de la Gallette – Jean Renoir
A leading impressionist, Auguste Renoir captures the buzz and excitement of this outdoor scene in Paris.
Just a personal note, this is by far my favorite. I can almost feel myself there.
The Fighting Temeraire – John Turner
John Turner, an English Romantic painter, is often referred to as the ‘artist of light’. This scene is a captivating example of how Turner portrayed sunlight on the sea.
Peace – Picasso
The simplicity of this symbol of peace by Pablo Picasso remains one of the most powerful pieces of art.
L’Estaque – Paul Cezanne
Eugène Delacroix – Liberty Guides the People
This painting epitomises the Romantic ideals of the French revolution. The French government bought it in 1830, but it was kept private for many years because it was considered too inflammatory.
Perhaps, it is just me, but I cannot help but see a parallel to both the American Revolution and the Civil War periods. If the lady was holding an American revolutionary flag, she would fit in many paintings of the period. Then look at the man with the stovepipe hat, very reminiscent of Lincoln. And the crowd around him could easily be Confederate soldiers.
Jewish Bride – Rembrandt
A painting of mesmerising ambiguity. ‘The Jewish Bride’ paints a tender portrayal of human love.