Paintings have always managed to capture the imagination of art seekers and art lovers throughout time. Great artists and painters have also managed to capture the imagination of people often years after they themselves are no more. History is proof that many revolutionary artists have been criticized for breaking new ground in the world of art. The particular piece of art becomes a center of controversy and is talked about in ways that denies the artist his due. However the immortalized pieces live on for eons and gradually come to be hailed as groundbreaking work. Let us now look at some of the most controversial paintings known to us.
10. Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat”:
Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat” is a famous and controversial painting of the dead French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat. The painting was one of the most well known in the days of the French revolution and depicted the journalist dead in his bath tub. The painting is oil on canvas that measures 64X50 inches and is currently housed in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium.
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9. John Singer Sargent’s “Madame X”:
John Singer Sargent’s “Madame X” or the portrait of Madame X is the painting of Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau who was infamous in French society for being an adulterous woman. This painting had a very realistic look and was painted in pretty much the same way as the woman in question. Madame X created a controversy when the painting was first displayed. The painting measures 92.5X43.25 inches and is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
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8. Gustav Courbet’s “Burial at Ornans”:
Gustav Courbet’s “Burial at Ornans” is looked at as a major turning point in French art in the 19th century. The painting measures 124X260 inches and depicts the funeral of the painter’s uncle in the small town of Ornans. The painting is a larger than life representation of a simple funeral but has sparked off several responses from the public and the critics. It is also one of the best works from the artist and is a timeless painting. The mourners in the painting have no expressions of grief on their faces which was one of the reasons as to why it is one of the controversial paintings.
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7. Salvador Dali’s “Persistence of Memory”:
Salvador Dali was one of the most well known painters of his time. His painting “Persistence of Memory” is one of his most famous as well as controversial paintings. The painting has been a part of the New York Museum of Modern Art since 1934. It is a surrealist work on oil and the painting is comparatively smaller as compared to other well known paintings measuring in at 9.5X13inches. The painting has been interpreted with different meanings as its surrealist nature suggests that there may be different ways to look at the painting.
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6. Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”:
Rembrandt was a well known Dutch painter and was known for his representation of day to day life in his paintings. He had made a name for himself early on with his many famous portraits and his later paintings were surrounded in a bit of mystery. The Night Watch, which is a rather dim painting, represents a gathering of the Musketeers. The lack of light in the painting suggests that it is a dark and dim version but instead the real depiction is of a daytime party.
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5. Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment”:
Perhaps the greatest work of artist Michelangelo who was one of the most gifted artists of all time. His painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is often considered his greatest work. The last judgment shows the coming of the second Christ and the ultimate end of everything known as the apocalypse. The painting is well recognized for the many nude figures and the extreme imagery used to depict the Last Judgment. This is why it is one of the most controversial paintings of all times.
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4. Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”:
Pablo Picasso was undoubtedly one of the most well known as well as one of the most controversial artists in the modern era. Credited with giving birth to different styles of painting, he is often looked at as the father of modern progressive art. His work “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” translates into ‘the Young Ladies of Avingon’ was originally named the Whores of Avingon shows five women who strike up compromising poses and have distorted or masked faces. The painting measures 96×92 inches and resides in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
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3. Gustav Courbet’s “Origin of the New World”:
Gustav Courbet’s “Origin of the New World” was another one of his well known and controversial paintings. The painting depicts a naked female whose face is covered up and she is exposing her genitalia towards the world. This painting was kept away from public display for many years and was re-unveiled in 1988. Courbet was a well established artist during the late 19th century and he used his fame to paint some of the greatest and some of the most controversial work of art known to man.
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2. Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”:
One of the most famous paintings in the world, The Last Supper is also Leonardo Da Vinci’s greatest work of art. His depiction of the last supper that Jesus Christ had with his disciples has become stuff of legend today. The painting has been studied and scrutinized by experts and artists of every subsequent era after Da Vinci. The painting tells the story of the moment before Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. Da Vinci is, till date, one of the greatest artistic minds the world has ever seen and his work compliments that.
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1. Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”:
The Mona Lisa is easily the most famous painting in the whole world. The painting is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, believed to be the wife of a banker, and has many features that make it special. First of all the atmospheric illusionism used by the painter is excellent as Mona Lisa appears to be smiling from a certain angle of view and from a certain angle the smile disappears. Besides that the subtle manner in which the details have been etched into the relatively simple themed painting is superb. It is also the most controversial paintings because some believe that it contains secret messages that point to the life of Christ. The painting is on permanent display at the Louvre in Paris and is viewed as a priceless work of art.