The folks at WordPress (hosts of this blog) tell me that of all the posts on Make Lists, Not War, those with the most views (by far!) are the lists of the Best Works of Art of All Time. These pages receive more clicks than the rest of my blog entries combined. For that reason, I decided to revise and expand my Best Works of Art pages. Although I have no background in art or art history, thanks to Wikipedia, the websites of the world’s museums, the folks at Khan Academy, and various other sources, I have been able to teach myself a little something about the works of art and synthesize what I’ve learned into mini-essays to accompany many of the items on the Best Art lists. It is now time to unveil Version 2.0 of the Best Works of Art and Art History 101 lists.
Just to give you a taste of what we’re talking about, I’ve provided the very top paintings and sculptures of all time below. This ranking is based on a meta-list that combines 18 separate lists of the top, best, greatest, most important or most highly regarded works of art, as determined by art critics, art historians and art experts of all stripes. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find links to my new, improved Best Works of Art lists.
THE TOP 15 PAINTINGS OF ALL TIME
8. Hieronymous Bosch: The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1510)
10. Michelangelo Buonarroti: Frescoes, Sistine Chapel Ceiling (1508-1512)
11. Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Hunters in the Snow (1565)
12. Théodore Géricault: The Raft of the Medusa (1819)
TOP 14 SCULPTURES OF ALL TIME
4. Gian Lorenzo Bernini: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1647-1652)
5. Michelangelo Buonarroti: Pietà (1497-1499)
7. Unknown Artist: Funerary Mask of Tutankhamun (1333-1323 BCE)
8. Myron: The Discus Thrower (460-450 BCE)
10. Unknown Artist: The Pergamon Altar Frieze (c. 180 BCE)
12. Agesander, Athenodoros & Polydorus: Laocoön and His Sons (c. 150-50 BCE)
Here are the Best Works of Art on three or more of the 18 lists, organized by the number of lists that the artwork was on. For example, Giotto’s Arena Chapel frescoes were the only works of art to be included on 13 of the 18 lists.
Best Works of Art of All Time – The Critics’ Picks, Part 1
(works of art on 5 to 13 of the original 18 lists)
Best Works of Art of All Time – The Critics’ Picks, Part 2
(works of art on 3 or 4 of the original 18 lists)
Here are the best works of art on 2 or more of the 18 lists, organized chronologically. (I haven’t gotten around to writing essays for the artworks that were only one two lists, but it will happen.)