Over the centuries there have been many lauded artworks, and some have become so famous that they are instantly recognisable the world over. Here we show you a selection of ten of the most recognised art masterpieces of all time.

10. The Son of Man, 1964, by Rene Magritte

The Son of Man by Rene Magritte

The Son of Man by Rene Magritte

The Son of Man is a fairly iconic image that was imagined as a self-portrait. The image shows a man in a suit wearing a bowler hat, although his face is covered by an apple which hovers in mid-air. This lends an air of mystery as well as intrigue to the artwork, as the audience tries to find out more about the man behind the green apple.

9. Guernica, 1937, by Pablo Picasso

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

This painting, housed in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, is one of a selection of Picasso’s well known artworks. This artwork has, however, become especially prominent due to its negative portrayal of war and the needless suffering that it causes. Guernica is specifically a representation of the Spanish Civil War and portrays the Civil War, and by implication all wars, in a negative light.

8. Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665, by Johannes Vermeer

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

This artwork, sometimes called the Dutch Mona Lisa, is a simple yet elegant portrait of a woman wearing a pearl earring, which is the main focus of the piece. Not a huge amount is known amount Johannes Vermeer, nor is much known about the figure in the portrait.

7. The Scream, 1893, by Edvard Munch

The Scream by Edvard Munch

The Scream by Edvard Munch

The Scream is not just one artwork, but a series of paintings and prints, which feature a tormented figure that is placed below a blood red sky, which emphasizes the torment that the figure is feeling. The landscape was based on a road overlooking Oslo in Norway. The series of images have had their fair share of problems, with some of them being stolen or going missing for years at a time.

6. The Persistence of Memory, 1931, by Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali is possibly the most famous figure to emerge out of the surrealist movement, and his portrayal of melting clocks will be familiar to many. The fact that the clocks are melting in this artwork prompts us to question what the meaning of time actually is, and to challenge the notion of time as a concept.

5. Starry Night, 1889, by Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh has created many iconic paintings over his troubled career, but Starry Night has to be one of his most famous masterpieces. Currently displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Starry Night is Van Gogh’s representation of a view from outside the window of his room.

4. Water Lillies, by Claude Monet

Water Lillies by Claude Monet

Water Lillies by Claude Monet

Rather than being a single painting, there are around 250 of Monet’s water lilly oil paintings, and they are on display in several museums the world over, helping to make them instantly recognisable. Painted in the impressionist style, these lillies were painted in Monet’s own flower garden in Giverny. The oil paintings can be found in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and the National Museum of Wales, to name but a few.

3. The Birth of Venus, 1485–87, by Sandro Botticelli

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

This painting by Sandro Botticelli will be recognisable to many by the sheer fact that it is referenced so much in popular culture. Fashion shoots have been known to take inspiration from the painting, and a parody of the painting has also appeared in an episode of Family Guy, not to mention countless other tributes to the piece. In The Birth of Venus, Venus (the Goddess of love) is being born and emerges out of a shell, naked, with other mythical creatures coming to her aid.

2. The Last Supper, 1495-1498, by Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper is a biblical artwork that depicts the Last Supper as described in the Bible, when Jesus announces that one of his Twelve Apostles will betray him. It is a mural that can be found in Milan.

1. The Mona Lisa, c. 1503-1519, by Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa is without a doubt the most recognised artwork of our time. Millions flock to see it in the Louvre in Paris every year, and it is easy to see why. The famous enigmatic smile of the woman, Lisa del Giocondo, captures the hearts and imaginations of many who look upon it. Although many may find that seeing the Mona Lisa in person is a bit of a let-down, as it is cordoned off by rope and it can be hard to appreciate with an enormous crowd constantly surrounding it, it is still worth a visit if you happen to be in Paris, if only to see in person one of the most famous and talked about paintings of all time.

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