Throughout history, there have been certain pieces of art that stand above the rest. Whether that's due to the incredible skill the artist used to create it or because of the significant culture or historical moment captured, there is no denying that some famous artworks have made an indelible mark on history. We've reached into the past to look at some of the most famous paintings and sculptures that art history has to offer and pulled together our list of the most famous artworks of all time.
From ancient Greek statues to Impressionist masterpieces, these pieces of art are important markers of Western culture. And by learning more about them, you'll move from major art movements like the Italian Renaissance to Realism, Impressionism, Cubism, and much more. Our list culminates in the 1940s, making it a timeline that spans centuries of art that continues to influence our world today.
Several noted artists made the list twice, starting with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and finishing with Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. Artistic themes pass from mythology and religion, as exemplified by the Creation of Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, to historical subject matter that touches on major moments like the French Revolution. Other works, like Vermeer's The Girl with a Pearl Earring, are simple portraits that continue to captivate our imagination. And there's even one, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, that represents non-Western tradition.
Scroll down to see the 37 famous artworks that left their mark on history, and click the links to go in-depth about the significance and history of each piece.
Here are the 37 most famous pieces of art in history, in chronological order.