Best of European Culture: 50 Great Works That Influenced The World


Europe has had a long and rich history of creating amazing art. From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, artists in Europe created works that inspired generations of artists, including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and many more. If you want to learn about some of these great works, read on!

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, within the Vatican City. It’s famous for its frescoes by the Renaissance artist Michelangelo.

The chapel was built in 1475, and was originally dedicated to St. Lawrence. It has been home to many important events in history including papal elections and coronations of popes

The Statue of David

The Statue of David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture. It was sculpted by Michelangelo, who portrayed the biblical hero David standing over his fallen foe Goliath. The statue shows the young man with his left foot forward and his right arm raised in victory, ready to strike again if necessary.

It’s easy to see why this work has become so iconic; it represents freedom and strength against tyranny–a perfect image for Florence’s struggle against its enemies at the time (and ours today). The Florentine Republic commissioned this work as a symbol for their cause; its popularity among artists ever since has made it an enduring symbol for humanity’s desire for liberty and justice across all cultures around the world

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world. It was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, Italy, around 1503 and depicts a woman named Lisa Gherardini (wife of Francesco del Giocondo).

The artist’s signature is visible at bottom right corner: “Leonardo da Vinci/1519”. He wrote this date as an inscription on his work because he was commissioned to paint it by Francis I of France who wanted it for his collection at Fontainebleau Palace near Paris. The painting was stolen from the Louvre museum in 1911 but recovered two years later when Vincenzo Peruggia hid it under his bed after taking advantage of lax security measures during renovations being carried out at that time!

Michelangelo’s Pieta

The Pieta is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It is an iconic work of High Renaissance art and one of the most famous sculptures in the world.

The figure of Mary stands with her feet together (stance), but slightly turned out so that she can easily support Jesus’ body with her hands and arms under his armpits and across his chest; she also has one arm draped over his legs at the knee, while her other hand holds his thigh close to her body as she bends forward over him. The position of Christ’s torso shows him as dead from wounds caused by crucifixion; he is naked except for a loincloth covering his genitals, which are indicated only by subtle indentations on either side near where they would be located on a living man (see “crucifixion” below). The vertical vein popping out on Mary’s forehead indicates stress due to grief or fatigue; it was common practice among sculptors working in marble during this period not only because such veins were considered attractive features but also because they provided additional support for figures carved from hard stone like marble

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper

The Last Supper is a fresco by Leonardo da Vinci that was painted on the wall of the refectory in Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. It is one of the most famous paintings in the world and considered to be one of Leonardo’s masterpieces.

The painting depicts Jesus Christ at the moment he announces that one of his Apostles will betray him (the Apostle John). It shows Christ seated at a table with his Apostles who are sitting opposite him across from each other, as if they were sharing a meal together.

The Venus de Milo

The Venus de Milo is a 2nd century BCE work of ancient Greek sculpture. It was found on the island of Melos in 1820, and it has been in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France since 1821.

The statue depicts Aphrodite (the Greek goddess of love) removing her sandal while holding an apple: she is believed to be adjusting her sandal strap or perhaps even picking up her discarded shoe. The missing arms were most likely added later by another artist as they do not fit well into the rest of the body’s proportions; this has led some experts to believe that this particular statue may have originally been an entirely different object before being converted into its current state by adding two new hands as well as covering over portions of its original surface with plaster or clay to resemble human skin tones better

Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone

The Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone is a famous painting by Vincent van Gogh. It was painted in 1889, and it’s one of the most expensive paintings in the world.

The painting shows us a night scene with stars shining brightly above some houses along with other objects like boats and bridges in front of them. The artist used various colors to create this masterpiece which makes it look very attractive and beautiful when you look at it closely.

Bernini’s David

Bernini’s David is a sculpture of David. It was made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and is located in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy. The sculpture measures 3.2 meters high and was created between 1623-24 for Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi (also known as Pope Clemente X).

Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece

The Ghent Altarpiece is an oil painting by Jan van Eyck, started in 1432 and completed in 1439. The central panel measures 4 feet 10 inches by 2 feet 10 inches (147 cm x 82 cm). It depicts the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb with Jesus at center, surrounded by a choir of angels playing musical instruments and singing praises to God; four men kneel before the Lamb; two others stand behind them holding viols. In each corner of this main panel are miniatures: The Annunciation (top left), The Coronation of Mary (top right), Saint John Donning His Clothes (bottom left) and Saint Barbara Offering Her Sword To Satan In Exchange For Her Father’s Life (bottom right).

The wings feature extensive landscape elements including distant cliffs with castles on top painted in perspective, waterfalls flowing into lakes below; there are also trees and bushes growing out from cracks between rocks which may be intended as some kind of metaphor for life emerging from death – perhaps reflecting Van Eyck’s own experience during WWII when he hid from Nazis in his home town Bruges?

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is a painting done by Sandro Botticelli in 1484. It is a painting of Venus being born from the sea, commissioned by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, who was a member of the Medici family.

The painting depicts the goddess Venus rising from her shell-shaped birth bed with her arms stretched outwards and her eyes closed, almost as if she were floating on air rather than water. Her long hair flows down past her hips and over her shoulders as if it were seaweed or kelp; this visual comparison points to Botticelli’s intention to portray his subject as having been born from nature itself rather than being created by divine intervention (in contrast with other artists who depicted their subjects as having been brought forth through some sort of miracle).

These works are still inspiring artists today.

These works are still inspiring artists today.

The Impressionists, like many other artists before them, were inspired by the works of their predecessors. In this case, they were inspired by Dutch painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer who had painted with great skill and passion over two hundred years ago. These paintings were also a testament to the power of art: how it could capture your imagination and inspire you to create something beautiful yourself.


We hope that you’ve enjoyed this tour of European culture. From the Renaissance to today, these works have inspired artists and changed the way we think about art. The list is by no means exhaustive–there are many other great works of art from around the world that deserve mention here as well!

Jess Fisichella

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