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The Most Popular Paintings by Italian Artists

 

For centuries, Italy has produced some of the most significant cultural works that gave birth to massive development in arts and architecture. Sprung from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance gave birth to many popular paintings from Italian artists during the 14th to 17th centuries.

During this period of art enlightenment, many new techniques and styles were born, with fresco and mannerism methods producing some of the most iconic artworks that humanity has today. Furthermore, Italy has also revolutionized subject matter during this period, transitioning into more ancient, secular, and realist artworks. In fact, some of the most popular paintings by Italian artists are centered around mythological and religious scenes, such as the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli.

Paintings made by Italian artists that took over the world by storm

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

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Mona Lisa, one of the most popular paintings in the world, brings an enigmatic presence to viewers | Photo by Sheena McKenzie from CNN

 

With her enigmatic smile and mysterious eyes, the Mona Lisa painting has haunted the minds of viewers for centuries. Publicly released in 1517, the Mona Lisa painting is a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, regarded as one of the most famous Italian artists in the world. According to speculations, it is an unfinished portrait of Lisa Gherardini, a merchant’s wife named Francesco del Giocondo. However, there are no public records of such a commission, so experts are still trying to uncover the woman’s identity in the painting. According to biographic accounts on Leonardo da Vinci, he regarded the painting as a work in progress, keeping it with him until his death.

Besides being famous because of the woman’s haunting expression, the Mona Lisa is revered for its excellent display of the technique sfumato. Sfumato is the use of light and shadow gradients to soften the transitions of color. It is currently housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, and holds the Guinness World Record for having the highest insurance value for a famous painting in history.

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The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

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The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli is a true Renaissance treasure to Italy | Photo by Kristy Puchko from Mental Floss

 

Considered the most famous icon of Italian Renaissance art, the Birth of Venus depicts a traditional scene from Greek Mythology. Sandro Botticelli made The Birth of Venus, his most famous painting, in 1486, using expensive materials such as alabaster powder to produce richer colors.

During Botticelli’s time, alabaster, a mineral, was used in many plaster sculptures for its soft, translucent nature. It’s highly renowned for its beautiful composition and balanced elements, showing the pure, perfect, and flawless Venus standing atop a pearl on the island of Cyprus.

In Greek and Roman mythology, Venus is the Goddess of Love, rumored to be born at sea and blown to the island by the gods of wind, Zephyr, and Aura. Venus is also shown in the painting with a minor goddess Hora at her right side, giving Venus a cloak. According to art historians, the artwork does not just depict the birth of Venus in its literal sense, but also the birth of a new age and hope since the image ushered in the era of civilization after the turbulence of the Middle Ages.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo Buonarroti

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The Creation of Adam portrays the conceptualization of man in God’s own likeness | Public Domain Photo from Epoch Times

 

When in Rome, do like the Romans do. In this case, Romans, Italians, and tourists alike DO flock to the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, not just for its inclusion in the rich history of the Church but also for its breathtaking ceiling. One of the Vatican’s greatest treasures, the Creation of Adam, is one of the many intricate fresco paintings to be seen on the interior top of the Sistine Chapel.

Located next to “The Creation of Eve” and “Congregation of the Waters,” the Creation of Adam is displayed in its majestic place. It was commissioned by Pope Julius II to Michelangelo in 1512, who was gaining traction as an artist for his sculpted work, the Pieta and David.

Michelangelo painted the Biblical chapter of creation in the Book of Genesis, showing how God created the first man, Adam, in His own image and likeness. Artists have long since analyzed the beautifully complex artwork, from the anatomically correct brain shape to the green scarf representing a cut umbilical cord.

Regarded as one of the most important artworks by a famous artist to the Western world in history, the iconic touching of God and Adam’s fingertips remain a symbol popularly replicated.

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

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The Last Supper remains to be one of the most popular paintings depicting a Biblical scene | Public Domain Photo by The Singulart

 

Another da Vinci artwork, the Last Supper painting, is one of the most popular paintings done by an Italian artist. Massively replicated in framed furniture, art prints, and other forms, the Last Supper is a widely recognized artwork, especially among Catholics, for its artistic vision of biblical scenes.

It was believed to be painted by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most famous Italian artists, between 1495 and 1498 as a commission for the Dominican monastery, Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan, where it remains up until today.

Considered as a “Universal Genius,” Leonardo da Vinci amazingly paints a creative interpretation of the verse in Matthew 26:21–28, the moment wherein Jesus revealed that one of His disciples will betray him. The painting shows each of the disciples’ varied feelings and sentiments through their facial expressions and gestures. Equipped with a multitude of symbolism through its seemingly simple composition, the Last Supper remains famous for its application, technique, and color tone.

The Last Supper and many of the paintings on the list are common artwork replicas hung inside homes. With their rich history, cultural significance, and innate elegance, these popular paintings by Italian artists can undoubtedly level up the classiness of houses. To achieve a beautifully decorated and styled space that goes well with these paintings, why not check out a property at the Brittany Corporation?

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Brittany Corporation boasts a wide array of Italian-inspired houses that can really make you experience the rustic, romantic, and charming air of the Renaissance in the city, like the properties in Vista Alabang. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live in an Italian house, well, this is your chance to land luxury real estate!

The School of Athens by Raphael Sanzio

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Depicting philosophy, the School of Athens shows the rift between Idealism and Realism | Public Domain Photo by Raphael Paintings Org

 

Another classic included in the collection of the most famous work by Italian artists is the magnum opus of Raphael, entitled The School of Athens. Like Michelangelo, who was asked to decorate the Sistine Chapel, Raphael commissioned work for the Vatican City. Pope Julius II asked him to create paintings on the wall frescoes of the Stanza Della Segnatura of the Vatican Palace. The Stanza Della Segnatura was a library designed for Pope Julius II, which fitted the theme of the four paintings he made on the wall- the union of art, philosophy, theology, and law, with the School of Athens representing philosophy.

The fresco depicts 21 of the greatest Greek philosophers of all time, including Aristotle and Plato, discussing among themselves in a background of ionic columns. This Italian art is a statement for the collision of two artistic and philosophical ideas, realism and idealism. The propagators of these two ideas can be identified through their hand gestures. Plato points his fingers to the sky to recognize the world of Ideals where Beauty, Truth, and Goodness are found. On the other hand, Aristotle points his hand towards the viewers of the painting, signifying material realism. Included in the most significant artworks representing the High Renaissance, the School of Athens is a classic masterpiece that remains Raphael’s most popular fresco painting.

Madonna and Child with Two Angels by Filippo Lipi

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The Madonna and Child with Two Angels is the most painting of Italian artist Filippo Lipi | Photo by the Uffizi Gallery

 

Painted between 1460 to 1465, the Madonna and Child with Two Angels introduced a new portrayal of the Virgin Mary and Jesus during the Early Renaissance period. In a dream-like state, the artwork is a portrait that displays a more human-looking Mary and baby Jesus, propped up by two angels that seem to grin at the viewers of the painting. According to historical accounts, Giovanni de Medici, an Italian banker and founder of Medici Bank, ordered the painting to give it to the King of Naples, but it was never delivered. To this current day, it sits in the Room 8 of Uffizi Gallery, held among a household of other beautiful paintings by Italian artists.

In fact, the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli was inspired by Filippo Lipi’s painting since Botticelli was a pupil under him. Showing the radiance and elegance of Mary in a new way, Madonna with her Child produced an iconic trademark in the Renaissance. The painting depicts Mary after a nun, Lucrezia Buti, whom Filippo Lipi ran away with after falling in love with her. A painting full of rich history replicated by many versions, the Madonna and Child with two angels has its own version by the Philippines’ own artist, Vicente Manansala, making his own cubist “Madonna of the Slums.” This is definitely a breathtaking painting that people can consider getting a framed replica to put in their homes as a part of their New House New Year Makeover for 2022!

The Venus of Urbino by Titian

Indeed, a High Renaissance painting to be discussed over a candlelit dinner and wine, the Venus of Urbino features a captivating and seductive Venus. A naked Venus is seen sprawled on a bed, summoning the viewers with her stare. In the background, maids are scrummaging around a chest, getting ready for an il toccamano, a ritual done before marriage to express consent. At the foot of the bed, a dog is used to symbolize fidelity in marriage, a concept present in Titian’s other artwork, “The Portrait of Eleonora Gonzaga.” Released in 1538, the Venus of Orbino, like many paintings by Italian artists on this list, is currently in the Uffizi Gallery. The painting was initially commissioned by Guidobaldo II della Rovere and taken to Florence as part of Vittoria della Rovere’s dowry, the last member of the family and wife of Grand Duke Tuscany.

The Venus of Urbino exemplifies the skill of Titian with regard to subject focus and skin softness. In the background, the painting is set in a rich patrician home in Venice during the 16th-century. While local art lovers can’t access Italian life through seeing this painting in person, Filipinos can still afford to live like the Venus in Urbino and taste Italy through real estate. Included as one of the most famous paintings by Italian artists, the Venus of Urbino remains among the classics in the Renaissance, building on the collection of artworks that feature a naked and alluring Venus.

Primavera by Sandro Botticelli

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The Primavera is thought to symbolize the Earth’s fertility and its seasons | Photo by Uffizi Gallery

 

Second to the famous “The Birth of Venus,” the Primavera by Sandro Botticelli is another famous artwork portraying traditional mythological scenes. An important work with an aim to renew Italian art remains to be the talk of the town to this day. The Primavera is notable primarily because of its various interpretations, being described as “one of the most controversial paintings in the world.” It is popular in ranking among Western art, made between 1477 to 1482. The masterpiece showcases a mysterious mythological scene that many have speculated means the celebration of the world’s fertility. Included in the Early Renaissance, the work embodies what the age was all about in terms of subject matter, method, and style.

Again, the Primavera is kept in the Uffizi Gallery, its complex background up for the world to take a spin on its meaning. The artwork shows a variety of Roman gods and goddesses, such as the Three Graces, who represent Chastity, Beauty, and Love. Venus, Cupid, and Zephyrus are present in the painting, common subjects found in Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” too.

Italy features a lot of cultural heritage, and art lovers all over the world are blessed to have access to these masterpieces by Italian artists even in modern times of now.

In viewing these paintings, their use of brushwork, and their supposed symbolism, people are called to appreciate how these paintings helped usher in a revolution of enlightenment, changing the course of history for humanity forever. These paintings tell the story of humanity’s trials, social issues, interests, political views, and events that occurred at various periods. More or less, these artworks mirror our transitions as a species to a society of civilization. Why not preserve that feeling with a classy Italian home? With the array of luxury properties for sale in Brittany, each house is a masterpiece of its own, with each detailed design done by architects- the country’s modern artists.

 


 

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