Making Sense of Famous Artworks

Just went for Art Jamming and have your art senses tingling? But have you ever wondered what the Mona Lisa represented or why is it the world’s greatest art piece? This post paints a beginner insight into famous artworks, to uncover the story behind the fame and beauty of these artworks. There are many artworks that could be covered in due course, but for now only 4 make the cut. Do read on to find out which pieces make the cut! Also if you want to give art jamming a shot after this, click here!

1. Mona Lisa

I am sure everyone has seen this painting before, but what exactly is so special about this painting? For a start, the sitter in the portrait has an enigmatic vibe to her, enthralling the hearts of onlookers. While this painting by Leonardo Da Vinci was acknowledged to be a masterpiece amongst artists, it was not until the theft in 1911 made it world-famous, popular even among the common folks worldwide. It is one of the first few paintings to depict an imaginary setting behind the sitter and the first one that uses an aerial perspective. Moreover, there is also the debate of whether the Mona Lisa deserves to be categorized as a portrait, considering how the painted imagery is of an ideal woman.

2. Girl with a Pearl Earring

Johannes Vermeer is a Dutch painter, who largely paints images of women in different social-cultural roles, Girl with a Pearl Earring is but one of many. However, it stands out amongst the rest of his pieces. The girl in the image unlike the other paintings was captured looking at the painter, and not actively doing an activity – kind of like calling out to her and just snapping a shot. This created a sense of ambiguity in the painting, captivating the viewer’s attention with her charm. It is also worth to note this painting is a Tronie, a Dutch word for head/ expression, implying that this painting is not about the character being painted, but the essence the character emanates. Sophisticated indeed.

3. The Starry Night

There is a lot of depth that goes behind this painting by Vincent Van Gogh. This painting depicts the scenery from the window of Van Gogh’s asylum room just before sunrise. Interestingly what we deem as a beautiful painting is thought to be a ‘failure’ by Van Gogh himself. At that time, artists had inclinations towards one of two sides, nature or abstraction; one being real and the other being imagination. Van Gogh was inclined towards nature, but occasionally he deviated from his path and this painting is one of those moments, characterized with swirly stars that are too big for stars. Initially, I thought those were the Suns, so I can see why he says it is a failed attempt.

4. The Scream

This painting has been dubbed as the modern-day ‘Mona Lisa’. The artist, Edvard Munch, describes his inspirations for the painting; “One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream. “ I know right, it does not make sense and that’s what makes it The Scream, what makes it so popular. Maybe next time you head for Art jamming you can attempt to replicate these pieces.

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