7 Well-Known Paintings and Their Controversial Stories You Should Not Miss

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Picasso’s “Guernica” are among the popular paintings that have captivated the attention of the world. These paintings are not just products of the great painters’ powerful imagination and artistic prowess. Every painting has also its fascinating stories to tell. What are these stories all about and how these stories make every painting a subject of great interest? Check out to find.

1.Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” and the story behind Jesus’ prediction about Jude’s betrayal.

If you’re a Christian, you must know the story in the bible about Jesus’ last supper with his twelve disciples including Mary Magdalene. Another highlight of this biblical story is about Jesus’ prediction of one of his disciples’ betrayal. In Da Vinci’s gigantic mural painting, “The Last Supper”, 180 x 360 inches, you can see how the disciples react with Jesus’ prediction that one of the apostles inside the room will betray him.


  1. “The Scream” is a product of Munch experience


This painting named “The Scream” is painted by an expressionist artist, Edward Munch and it has four versions.

Munch described his inspiration for the art written in his diary at 22nd of January 1892, where he wrote, “One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.”

This painting is worth millions of dollars! 

As mentioned earlier, Munch has created four versions where he painted the two and used pastel for the other two. Last May 2012, the fourth pastel version of The Scream was sold at an astonishing $119,922,600! It was financier Leon Blac, who bought it at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art auction and the painting become one of the most expensive paintings in art history.

  1. Guernica depicts the aftermath of a tragedy in a city


Pablo Picasso is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and the brilliant creator of “Guernica”. Picasso’s Guernica is a living reflection of the German and Italian bombing attack in the city of Guernica on April 26, 1937. The painting is still relevant today because it serves as a powerful symbol to warn people of the devastation and suffering resulted from the war.

  1. The Starry Night and Van Gogh’s life in the asylum room


In contrary to the popularity of this work of art, Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch impressionist, is not satisfied with his painting. In fact, in one of his letters to his brother Theo, he wrote that it was not one of his masterpieces.

Where this painting’s view come from? 

This marvelous creation’s reference is debatable. The first claim was this is based on Van Gogh’s memory and created in his ground floor studio. On the other hand, the view in the painting captures the same view from the east that faces the window of his asylum room before the sunrise came. There are about 21 versions of the painting and one of this is “The Starry Night”.

  1. Whistler’s Mother and the supposed portrait model.


Consider being one of the most renowned artworks by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, an American and British-based painter. This painting has received different stories and speculations. One of the most popular is the identity of the woman in the painting. She is no other than James’s mother, Anna McNeil Whistler.

Whistler’s mother is not the ‘real’ model

However, the interesting part of the story is that she is not supposed in the painting because the real model didn’t show up. Thus, Whistler used his mother as a replacement model. But since she can’t stand for a long time, he decided to let her sit in a comfortable position.

  1. The Night Watch as a common target of vandalism

the night watch

The Night Watch, a painting with 34 characters, is one of the most fantastic artworks from Rembrandt where he received 1,600 guilders as payment (former Dutch unit of money) at that time. It was commissioned by the Captain Banning Cocq and seventeen members of his civic military guards.

The painting was a target for many incidents of vandalism. In 1911, a man slashed the painting using shoemaker’s knife and a non-working school teacher attacked the painting with a bread knife in 1975. Also, a man has once sprayed acid on the painting. Thanks to some security personnel who saved the painting by spraying water on the affected area.

  1. Mona Lisa and the celebration of the birth of a baby boy


The first question that comes to one’s mind in the painting is, “Who is the woman with a mysterious smile in the painting?”

According to many history historical accounts, the lady was Lisa del Giocondo, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a rich silk merchant in Florentine. They say that the Giocondo family had commissioned the painting to celebrate the birth of Andrea, their second son.

Have you ever heard about the mystery behind Mona Lisa?

Well, the famous controversial code, known as “Da Vince code” is said to be found around the eyes of Mona Lisa. Experts have examined the eyes and found out several very small letters and number. There are letters like LV in the right eye and the left eye has defined symbols!



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