You’re Going To Want To See These 30 Amazing European Paintings


The world is a big place, and there’s a lot to see. But if you’re looking for something that will get your imagination going, these amazing European paintings are the way to go! From Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” to Rembrandt van Rijn’s “Landscape with the Good Samaritan at Jacob’s Well,” these works of art have inspired artists, writers and poets for centuries. So if you’re looking for something beautiful and inspiring before your next trip abroad—or even just when planning one—look no further than these 30 masterpieces:

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”

You can see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, where it was famously stolen in 1911. The painting is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini (the wife of Francesco del Giocondo), and it’s arguably the most famous painting in the world. The subject’s mysterious smile has inspired countless theories and interpretations over time, but it’s generally believed that Da Vinci intended for viewers to interpret their own meanings from his work.

Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”

Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” was painted in 1665, and it’s currently on display at the Mauritshuis museum in the Netherlands. The painting depicts an anonymous young woman who is wearing a pearl earring (hence the title). It’s part of a series of portraits by Vermeer of women wearing similar outfits, but this one is slightly different from the others because she looks directly at you as if she sees you standing there looking at her face-to-face rather than just gazing off into space like most portraits did back then.

It took over 30 years for this masterpiece to make its way into public hands after being sold by its original owner; it was originally commissioned by Johannes Van der Lijn when he married Grietje Jansdr Deijl (known as Grietje Jansdr Deijl), who later became known simply as Grietje Jansdr Deijl after marrying Jan Pieterszoon Coenraadt van Ruyven (known as Jan Pieterszoon Coenraadt van Ruyven).

Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”

You’re going to want to see this painting. It’s one of the most famous works of art in the world, and it was created by Vincent Van Gogh in 1889. The Starry Night is also one of the most expensive paintings ever sold: In 1987, a Japanese businessman paid $82 million for it–that’s over $100 million today (and probably more).

But you don’t need me to tell you that; everyone knows The Starry Night is amazing! It’s considered by many critics and historians as a masterpiece because it captures so much emotion through color alone. And even though Van Gogh didn’t think so himself (he called his own work “naive”), others believe he painted this masterpiece while suffering from mental illness or depression.*

Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”

So you’re visiting Europe, and you’ve heard that there are some amazing paintings to be seen. But where do you start? Well, let’s look at a few of the most famous European paintings in history.

One such painting is Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica.” This masterpiece was created in 1937 as a protest against the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The painting depicts two figures–a mother holding her dead child and another woman holding an injured man–against a background of destruction caused by war planes swooping overhead. The entire canvas measures over 6 feet tall by 10 feet wide! It’s one of those images that stays with you forever once you’ve seen it for yourself:

Claude Monet’s “The Water Lilies” Series

A series of 20 paintings that depict Monet’s garden at Giverny, France. The series spans from 1899 to 1927 and can be found at the National Gallery in London.

Michelangelo Buonarroti’s “David” Statue

The David is a marble statue of a nude male figure by the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. It was created between 1501 and 1504, although some scholars believe that it may have been finished later than this date. The statue depicts David before his battle with Goliath, a scene from the Old Testament’s First Book of Samuel (1 Samuel 17).

It stands 17 feet (5 m) tall and is located in Florence Cathedral; it was commissioned for its location by an agent for Cardinal Raffaele Riario who was the nephew of Pope Julius II. The statue was originally intended to crown an equestrian monument to him but when this project failed to materialize he instead decided to use it as part of his tomb monument which he had already commissioned from Michelangelo in 1506-08.

The statue depicts David wearing only a short tunic: girded low on his hips with a sash tied around his waist; with one hand resting casually on Goliath’s head while holding his shepherd’s staff in his other hand; looking directly out at us with an expression full of youthful confidence and pride while standing over six feet tall!

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self Portrait as St. Catherine of Alexandria

The painting is a self-portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi, who was an Italian painter and one of the most famous women artists in history. It’s an oil painting on canvas that depicts her as St. Catherine of Alexandria, who was martyred by being tortured on a spiked wheel. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., owns this piece; it was completed in 1610 and is part of a series depicting St. Catherine (you can see another one here).

Gentileschi was born into an artistic family; her father Orazio was an acclaimed painter before he died when Artemisia was just 11 years old. After his death she continued his work with assistance from another artist named Agostino Tassi–but later sued him for rape after becoming pregnant with their child! She went on to become one of the most respected artists working in Rome during its Baroque period

Johannes Vermeer’s Allegory of Painting

One of the most famous paintings in the world, Johannes Vermeer’s Allegory of Painting is an allegory that depicts the artist at work, his studio and all its tools. The painting shows Catharina (the artist’s daughter) holding a palette and brush while standing next to her mother who looks on approvingly.

Vermeer created this piece as a tribute to his profession and family life; he used elements like light and shadow to represent them both as one whole unit–and it worked!

Rembrandt van Rijn Landscape with the Good Samaritan at Jacob’s Well, 1639-40. Oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm (19-3/4 x 23-1/8 in). Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island. Gift of Miss Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New York City. 1950.20

Rembrandt van Rijn Landscape with the Good Samaritan at Jacob’s Well, 1639-40. Oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm (19-3/4 x 23-1/8 in). Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island. Gift of Miss Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New York City. 1950.20

It’s not often that you get to see a painting by Rembrandt van Rijn in person–the Dutch master is such an important figure in art history that his works are usually kept behind glass cases and not put on display for public viewing. But this one is different: it was given to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum by Miss Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1950 as part of her personal collection; since then it has been hanging there ever since!

The world is full of art that should be seen

There’s a lot of art in the world, and it can be hard to know where to start. But if you’re looking for some good work that will challenge and inspire you, these 30 paintings are a great place to begin.

The world is full of art that should be seen, but not all of it is created equal. You may have heard that “art” means different things depending on who’s talking about it–especially when they’re talking about contemporary Western culture versus non-Western cultures (and even among those who identify with one or another). This makes sense: We all live in different contexts, so our understanding of what makes something good or bad will vary based on our experiences growing up in those contexts.

But there are some commonalities across many different types of visual arts around the world: The act itself–creating something beautiful out of nothing but paint and canvas–remains an awe-inspiring feat regardless where it comes from; moreover, there are universal truths embedded within each piece which make them worth studying regardless where they’re made (or by whom).


We hope that this list has been a good introduction to some of the most celebrated works of European art. We know there are so many more paintings and artists out there, so if you have any suggestions for us please let us know!

Jess Fisichella

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