Quotation

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." 

Dr. Seuss
 


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Inspirational Masterpieces by Great Artists

"Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) I am not an artist myself and I am not a great art expert, but I am always moved by great art. Art is not just beauty recreated; it is an expression of love, passion, and the heart's deepest emotions. Need some inspiration? Just look at these amazing paintings! There are no words to describe their beauty… What can inspire more than a great masterpiece?

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Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

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1503-06, The Louvre, Paris

This mysteriously smiling face has become synonymous with art itself. It is certainly the most famous painting ever painted, and arguably the most influential portrait of all time.

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

1889, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Without question, this work has come to represent the best of the best from this beloved, but troubled genius. The painting was to influence the expressive use of colour and paint for several generations of international artists during the next half-century or more.

Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

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1888, National Gallery, London

Vincent van Gogh painted these sunflowers after leaving his native Holland for the south of France with the dream of starting an artistic community. He began to paint sunflowers to decorate a bedroom for his friend Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh produced a replica of this painting in January 1889, and perhaps another one later in the year. The various versions and replicas remain much debated among Van Gogh scholars. These most famous of all sunflowers in art hold at their heart a simple parable about the brevity of life; they are at varying stages in the life cycle, from withered and wilting to vibrant full bloom.

The Ninth Wave by Ivan Aivazovsky

1850, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

"The Ninth Wave" is a true masterwork. Aivazovsky reaches in this painting an absolute technical perfection, representing a group of unlucky castaways trying to survive under the merciless charges in form of oceanic waves. Nevertheless, the centre of the composition is the powerful, almost mystical and diffuse representation of the sun, which illuminates the scene with a strange, oneiric range of green and pink shades. This painting is often called "the most beautiful painting in Russia."

The Hay Wain by John Constable

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1821, National Gallery, London

The Hay Wain is revered today as one of the greatest British paintings, but, when it was originally exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821 (under the title Landscape: Noon), it failed to find a buyer. It was considerably better received in France where it was praised by Théodore Géricault. The painting caused a sensation when it was exhibited with other works by Constable at the 1824 Paris Salon (it has been suggested that the inclusion of Constable's paintings in the exhibition were a tribute to Géricault, who died early that year). In that exhibition, The Hay Wain was singled out for a gold medal awarded by Charles X of France, a cast of which is incorporated into the picture's frame. The works by Constable in the exhibition inspired a new generation of French painters, including Eugène Delacroix.

Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

1563, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The subject of this painting is the construction of the Tower of Babel, which according to the Bible was a tower built by humanity to reach heaven. Brueghel's depiction of the architecture of the tower, with its numerous arches and other examples of Roman engineering, is deliberately reminiscent of the Roman Colosseum. The painting was meant to demonstrate the dangers of human pride and perhaps the failure of Classical rationality in the face of the divine.

Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix

1830, Louvre, Paris

Eugène Delacroix depicted Liberty as both an allegorical goddess-figure and a robust woman of the people, an approach that contemporary critics denounced as "ignoble". The mound of corpses acts as a kind of pedestal from which Liberty strides, barefoot and bare-breasted, out of the canvas and into the space of the viewer. The Phrygian cap she wears had come to symbolise liberty during the French Revolution of 1789.

The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to Her Last Berth to Be Broken up by J. M. W. Turner

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1838, National Gallery, London

The composition of this painting is unusual in that the most significant object, the old warship, is positioned well to the left of the painting, where it rises in stately splendour and almost ghostlike colours against a triangle of blue sky and rising mist that throws it into relief. The beauty of the old ship is in stark contrast to the dirty blackened tugboat with its tall smokestack, which scurries across the still surface of the river "like a water beetle". In 2005, The Fighting Temeraire was voted the greatest painting in a British art gallery.

The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn

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1642, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Considered to be Rembrandt's best work, this painting broke the mould insofar as group portraits at the time were concerned. Newly cleaned today, the painting stands up well as the best Northern Europe had to offer.

Union of Earth and Water by Peter Paul Rubens

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1618, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

In order to embody the union of the two elements, Rubens took figures from Classical mythology: resting on the trident is the god of the sea, Neptune, representing Water, whilst Cybele (Mother of the Gods), with the horn of plenty in her hand, is Earth. The prosperous union of Earth and Water, bringing mankind wealth and plenty, is blessed by the goddess of Victory, who descends from Mount Olympus, and is heralded on a conch by the Triton, who has raised himself up from the watery depths.

The Swineherd, Brittany by Paul Gauguin

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1888, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Gauguin is considered one of the leading painters of the Postimpressionist period. This colorful painting has more realistic space than many paintings by Gauguin in his mature style. 'The Swineherd' has a distinct foreground, with the farmer and his pigs, and a background of small village homes and sky. The strong colors and patchlike strokes of paint are what we most recognize as belonging to Gauguin.

Two Sisters (On the Terrace) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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1881, The Art Institute of Chicago

A celebration of the beauty of spring and the promise of youth, Two Sisters (On the Terrace) is a technical and compositional tour de force, a virtuoso display of vibrant color and variegated brushwork. The almost life-sized figures occupy a shallow space in front of a terrace railing; behind them quivers a lively, leafy landscape that brings their sharply delineated forms into vivid focus. The two girls' faces are extraordinarily refined—revealing Renoir's new emphasis on draftsmanship—and their porcelain complexions are uncompromised by reflections or shadows. The young child's irises are an almost startlingly clear, translucent blue, suggestive of the artist's desire to help us see the world afresh, through innocent eyes.

 


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