8 Intriguing Stories That Might Be Behind Legendary Works Of Art

Art is subjective and in that subjectivity, different works of art find their own value.

But behind everything, there is a little spark of co-incidence or inspiration and the same applies to these iconic works of art.

#1 Whistler’s Mother, James McNeill Whistler


One of the world’s best-known paintings, Whistler’s Mother might have just been a result of a someone not showing up to work on time.

The story goes that Whistler was initially set to paint a model and when she couldn’t make it, he painted his mother instead. Even the framing of a woman in profile in a seated position was because his mother wasn’t in good enough health to stand up for a long period of time.

#2 Self Portrait, Van Gogh


One of the most subjective and yet honest artists to ever have become famous, Van Gogh’s final self-portrait is a better depiction of him than the most of his work.

Clean shaven and relatively dapper, the artist was rumoured to have painted it solely as a gift for his own mother.

#3 Guernica, Picasso


One of the pioneers of the cubist style, Picasso’s works are some of the most striking and expensive pieces of art available today.

Before the onset of WWII, there was a lot of suffering caused by bombing in the city of Guernica. The Government reportedly asked him to contextualize their suffering using his art and it resulted in one of the most harrowing works of art to ever come out of the period.

#4 American Gothic, Grant Wood


American Gothic is a painting that has been recreated and referenced so many times, even people who know nothing about it would still be able to recognize this enduring work.

Apparently, Wood was driving around rural Iowa when he came across the house which was constructed in a Gothic style. He stopped by, sketched it and then added in the two subjects of the painting – a farmer and his daughter; the models for which were Wood’s sister and dentist.

#5 Starry Night, Van Gogh


The preferred wallpaper of “art lovers” everywhere, Starry Night has a pretty interesting creation story.

The painting was made at a time when Van Gogh was in a sanitarium and the scene he’s depicted is the view outside his cell. He then sent the painting to his brother Theo but judging from the letters that followed, he was probably unhappy with the way it turned out.

#6 The Scream, Edward Munch


Of all the rumours and whispered stories surrounding most paintings, Munch himself wrote down how he conceived of The Scream.

He was walking one evening when he stopped on a bridge to observe the blood red sky and heard a creaking noise from underneath him. Munch described this as nature itself screaming out for something.

#7  Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci


Arguably the most famous but least justified work in art history, the Mona Lisa’s main claim to fame remains that it was stolen a weird number of times.

One of the most famous stories behind the painting itself is that Da Vinci created it for Francesco del Giocondo, a rich merchant. The painting is probably that of his wife, Lisa, to celebrate the birth of their child.

#8 Portrait Of Dr Gachet, Van Gogh


After Van Gogh’s release from a mental care facility, he was still under observation and Dr Gachet was in charge of him.

Initially, Van Gogh was not a fan and apparently wrote to his brother saying that the doctor was sicker than he was. Eventually, though, they became good friends.

Of the painting itself, Van Gogh said, “I’ve done the portrait of M. Gachet with a melancholy expression, which might well seem like a grimace to those who see it.”

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Posted by

Mehernaz Patel

"Not as funny as she thinks she is..." -Facebook Comment Section

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