Four Masterpieces of European Art

Four Masterpieces of European Art


Ever since mankind started creating art, it has been trying to imitate the beauty of nature. And ever since the Renaissance began, artists have been striving to create pieces that can be considered masterpieces. These four paintings represent the pinnacle of European art—the most famous and widely recognized works in history.

Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It’s also one of the most mysterious. Painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, it depicts a woman sitting in front of an arched window with her hands resting on her lap and her gaze looking off into space. The painting is considered to be one of his masterpieces due to its use of perspective and finely detailed features such as hair, clothing and jewelry.

The original name for this painting was La Gioconda (“the happy one”), but over time it became known as “Mona Lisa”–a nickname that means “my lady” in Italian. The identity of this mysterious woman has been debated for hundreds of years; some say she was Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo herself while others claim she was simply someone else painted by Da Vinci using her likeness as inspiration!

The Birth of Venus

In Botticelli’s painting, the figure of Venus is seen with her back turned to us and looking over her shoulder. This pose is meant to show that she is unaware of our gaze upon her beauty.

In addition, she wears a shell around her neck in reference to Venus’ birth from the sea foam (the “foam” part) and has snakes wrapped around her arms as they rise up from behind her headdress or crown (the “sea” part). The mirror held by Botticelli’s Venus reflects light into our eyes so that we may see how beautiful she truly is–and what better way could there be for us humans than through art?

The Hay Wain

The Hay Wain is a painting by John Constable. It was completed in 1821 and hangs in the National Gallery London. The painting depicts a scene from rural England, showing a wagon full of hay being pulled through a landscape with several people working on farms.

The Last Supper

  • The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • The painting is in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan.
  • It depicts Jesus and his apostles at the last supper before Jesus’ crucifixion.

What is not so well known about this masterpiece? It’s not complete! In fact, only one third of Leonardo’s original design has been preserved: if you look closely at those 12 apostles around Christ’s table, you’ll notice that they’re all looking straight ahead (except Judas). That’s because there were supposed to be another 20 people sitting on either side who weren’t included in this version. What happened? A few years after its completion in 1498, Napoleon ordered that it be removed from its frame so he could take it back to France as war booty during his invasion of Italy–and when he left Milan after losing at Waterloo in 1815 (yes!), he took it with him again before eventually returning it home for good in 1816!

These masterpieces are world renowned.

These masterpieces are world renowned. They are from Italy, France, England and Spain. But they also come from Germany!


These masterpieces are world renowned.