Free Classroom Poster: The World’s Most Famous Pieces of Art

16 April 2020

For students learning about art history, a sound understanding of the whole spectrum can prove to be vital when it comes to creating their own pieces. Having a broad knowledge about everything from the Renaissance Period to Pop Art, and oil paintings to sculpture, could help to provide that spark of inspiration that every budding artist needs.

All around the world, there are thousands of famous pieces of art hung and installed in various galleries and museums. So when it comes to choosing which ones to teach your students about, narrowing down the list can be a little tricky.

To help, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of some of the most famous pieces of art from a variety of periods and genres, and created and eye-catching poster for you and your students.

1. Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci

Location: The Louvre, Paris

Widely considered the world’s most famous work of art, numerous theories have arisen as to who the unknown Mona Lisa is, with some even suggesting that it is a self-portrait of Da Vinci himself!

2. The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh

Location: Museum of Modern Art, New York

This particular painting was created at Saint-Rémy Asylum, where Van Gogh had committed himself in 1889. The Starry Night is created using oil paint and depicts the view from his hospital window.

3. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer

Location: Mauritshuis, The Hague

Dating back to the 17th Century, this painting features a young woman with a pearl earring on show. Often mistaken as a portrait, this work is in fact a ‘tronie’ – a Dutch still life genre.

4. Brillo Soap Pads Box, Andy Warhol

Location: National Gallery of Canada

Warhol’s mission when creating this piece was to make ‘something ordinary’. To do this, he painted and silkscreened numerous consumer products onto plywood cartons, and stacked them together to create his own mini supermarket.

5. The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo

Location: The Sistine Chapel, The Vatican

Illustrating the story of creation, this painting resides on the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel. Created between 1508 and 1512, it shows God passing the spark of life to Adam, and has since become one of the most replicated religious paintings in history.

6. Self portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, Frida Kahlo

Location: Harry Ransom Center, Texas

Following her divorce from Mexican muralist, Diego Riviera, Frida Kahlo produced a series of self-portraits to reflect her emotional state; this 1940 painting widely recognised for its symbolic use of nature.

7. The Water Lily Pond, Claude Monet

Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Water Lily Pond is one of 18 works of art started by Monet in the summer of 1899. It depicts Monet’s own garden, which housed a bridge designed by himself, and pays homage to Japanese art.

8. Mural, Jackson Pollock

Location: University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art

Commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for her town house, the sheer scale of this 160ft2 mural caused Pollock to rip out a wall in his design studio. Rumour has it that the final piece was still too big, causing eight inches to be cut from the end!

9. David, Michelangelo

Location: Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence

Michelangelo was just 26 years old when he created the sculpture of David.  Starting work in 1501, it took him two years to complete, and depicts David with his slingshot over his shoulder before his battle with Goliath.