We may not love to paint but we all love paintings. Painting is silent poetry, it is a self-discovery, it is imaginative yet surreal and at last, painting is a God’s invention. God is the creator and he is the most unparalleled artist. Everywhere we look in this beautiful world, everything we see is carefully crafted and painted by the creator God himself.
Paintings inspire like nothing else can. There have been several prominent painters throughout the centuries whose paintings have inspired us and will continue to do so. Here is a list of some paintings that have inspired people in all fields, be it arts, architecture, music or film direction.
Water Lilies by Claude Monet
Water Lillies is a result of the last 30 years of artistic work by French impressionist Claude Monet. It is a collection of 250 oil paintings based on his own flower gardens. These paintings are on display in museums all across the world. Over time many of these paintings have been auctioned and sold over £25 million.
- Giovanna Bertazzoni, Christie’s auction house director and head of impressionist and modern art, said, “Claude Monet’s water-lily paintings are amongst the most recognised and celebrated works of the 20th Century and were hugely influential to many of the following generations of artists.”
- Monet gifted a huge water lillies painting to France as a symbol for peace after the end of World War 1.
The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
The Starry Night is an oil on canvas by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. Often regarded as one of the finest works in the history of Western culture. Despite the painting being very famous, Vincent’s own feelings regarding the painting are little known. The period of the painting was a tough time on Vincent as he was in the asylum at Saint-Rémy. It is believed that the painting is painted from memory and not outdoors. This may, in part, explain why the emotional impact of the work is so powerful. Vincent died at a ripe age of 39 although The Starry Night lived through times to inspire people like no other painting could in Western culture.
Night Watch by Rembrandt
The artistic genius of Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, The Night Watch was painted in 1642. It is a group portrait of a militia company and is one of the most famous Dutch Golden Age paintings. The painting has influence in all fields and has inspired creaters across the globe.
- The work has inspired musical works in both the classical and rock traditions, including the second movement of Gustav Mahler’s 7th Symphony and Ayreon’s “The Shooting Company of Captain Frans B. Cocq” from Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer.
- The Night Watch is reenacted with live actors in an opening shot in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1982 film called Passion.
- The painting appears in episode 3 of season 2 of Netflix’s Sense8.
- The Night Watch is parodied on the British cover of Terry Pratchett’s 2002 book by the same name.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai
The Great Wave off Kanagawa, also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. It is one of the most recognized works of Japanese art. In 1868, Japan ended a long period of isolation and there began a goods and cultural exchange. The influence of Japanese woodblock paintings on western art appraisers was huge and in the heart of this lied The Great Wave off kanagawa. This painting influenced a great number of people and many prominent painters.
- Vincent van Gogh praised the quality of drawing and use of line in the Great Wave and said it had a terrific emotional impact.
- The image gave inspiration for Claude Debussy’s orchestral work, La mer, and appeared on the cover of the score’s first edition published by A. Durand & Fils in 1905.
- Apple macOS and iOS display a miniature version of the Great Wave as the Water Wave emoji.
- It layed the foundation for a special attack granted to a special weapon called Hokucide in the video game called Starbound.
Guernica by Pablo Picasso
Guernica is a creation of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Many art critics regard it as one of the most moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history. A response to horrific bombings of Guernica, a town in northern Spain by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. It depicts powerful and hearts wrenching scenes of sufferings of people and animals as a result of violence and chaos. Guernica has motivated people to stand against any injustice caused to live.
- In 2016, the British art critic Jonathan Jones called the painting a “Cubist apocalypse”. He stated that Picasso “was trying to show the truth so viscerally and permanently that it could outstare the daily lies of the age of dictators.”
- Guernica has become a universal symbol of warning against the devastation caused by wars. Since there is no obvious reference to a particular case in the painting, it has become timeless.