Some of the world’s most famous artists are more commonly known for their detailed portraits of human subjects. Portrait paintings provide the artist with the opportunity to depict a story within the subject’s expressions. Although the meaning behind the portrait may not always be apparent, what makes most of them famous is the open interpretation of the emotions and inner thoughts of the subject. Here are some of history’s most recognizable faces.
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
Not surprisingly, the Louvre’s invaluable portrait would make this list. Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of a merchant’s wife, Lisa Gherardini, is perceived as the most famous piece of art in history. Originally commissioned by the merchant as a gift for his consort, da Vinci ended up keeping the Mona Lisa for the remainder of his life. When is passed away in 1519, the painting then fell into place in various French Palaces, including that of Napoleon Bonaparte, until finding it’s permanent resting place in the Louvre.
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer was one of the most well-known artists of his time. The painting is often referred to as the “Dutch Mona Lisa” appearing a little more than 100 years after Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. One of the most enticing aspects of the painting is that very little is known about the model that is depicted. Viewers are fascinated with the mystery and like to speculate a story behind Vermeer’s subject. Modern-day entertainment has since written novels and movies about the peculiar girl.
Le Rêve (The Dream) by Pablo Picasso
Known for his modern cubism style of painting, Pablo Picasso has a unique style that has made him one of the most famous painters in history. Le Rêve is a portrait of his 22-year old mistress at the time, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Picasso often painted her using bright colors, evoking pleasant emotions in the interpretation of their relationship. Picasso was not one to shy away from expressing emotions in his work that others would not be inclined to.
American Gothic by Grant Wood
Since it was painted in 1930, the relationship of the subjects of Wood’s most famous work has been discussed by art lovers across the world. In fact, the man who modeled for the painting is Wood’s dentist, and the woman is his sister. The two had an unusual connection for portrait subjects in that they were strangers to one another. Grant Wood was intentional about choosing subjects that he could imagine living in the Dribble House in Iowa, which served as his inspiration for the painting.