From the 30,000 year old paintings drawn on cave walls to modern day Jackson Pollock paintings, human beings have always been involved in the making of paintings. The reason why human beings are naturally drawn to making paintings is that a painting drawn can be universally understood; it needs no translation, and it can communicate a very strong message to human beings of all times, ages, languages and cultures. But once in a blue moon, a painting emerges which is an absolute masterpiece, and is revered for thousands of years. Here is a list of the best paintings that exist in the world at the moment, from creators both living and long gone.
1: The Fetus in the Womb by Leonardo da Vinci
This painting is speculated to have been created around the time-frame of 1510-1513, and is a highly revered art piece due to its depiction of the human condition. According to most interpreters and experts, the painting shows the humble origins of all human beings, from inside the womb. The womb is shown open, like a chestnut, without disturbing the creature within. This humble beginning is meant to portray how human beings are always connected to nature and how bound by its laws they are. But at the same time, it shows how comfortable human beings are with these bounds. This painting is on display at Windsor Castle, as part of the Royal Collection.
2: The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio
This painting is on display at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta. It shows a murderous scene where Saint John is on the ground, kept in place by another man with a knife in one of his hands. Three other people stand in the murder scene, and two more watch in horror through a barred window. The whole scenario is full of gloom and despair, and this level of detail is exactly what has made this work by Caravaggio so successful. The painting was made in the year 1608.
3: Self-Portrait with Two Circles by Rembrandt
Made in the era of 1665-9, this self-portrait by Rembrandt is famous not because of the level of detail which has been inserted into this masterpiece, but because the artist standing inside of the painting looks at you with the most judgmental eyes. While standing in front of the painting, you see the artist looking at you with a very strong expression. The look on his face is of very high morality, and he looks at you like he knows you inside-out. It is truly an amazing experience standing in front of this portrait, which is located at Kenwood House, London.
4: Chauvet cave paintings
For a painting that was made over 30,000 years ago, in a cave, without any paint supplies we have had after the 14th century, it is remarkable how someone could’ve drawn these horse paintings. The level of detail on these paintings is amazing, as the horses appear almost lifelike to all those who look at them. It is proven that there was no written language around the time these paintings were made, so this proves the point that human beings maybe used artwork to communicate with each other; maybe that is the purpose these Chauvet paintings served at that time as well. Whatever the reason for their inception though, these are beautiful paintings, and you should see them personally if you ever get a chance to do so. These paintings are on display at Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, Ardeche, France.
5: Guernica by Picasso
This painting has a known purpose for its making, as it was made very recently in the year 1937, as it was painted as a personal protest from Picasso against the notorious bombing of Guernica by Hitler’s forces. The painting is not clear to a person not looking for an inherent meaning, as it does not show familiar shapes. All the creatures, including birds, animals and human beings, shown in the painting have been drawn in a distorted way, maybe in an attempt to showcase the disruptive effects of the bombings. There are no colors in the painting as well, and it has been drawn in a very grandeur fashion by an artist who was clearly angry. It is on display at Reina Sofia, Madrid.