Art comes in all shapes and sizes, and we’ve been taking a look at some of the most famous large-scale paintings, from Botticelli to Pollock.
Sandro Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’
Painted between 1482 and 1485 this is a monumental painting, measuring 5’ 8 x 9’ 2. The mythological painting depicts the Roman Goddess of love and beauty, Venus, emerging from the sea after her birth, in a scallop shell. The painting has vibrant colours and very delicate brushwork. There is a heavy use of gold in the painting for highlights on hair, wings, textiles and the shell itself. It is housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Eugene Delacroix ‘Liberty Leading the People’
Painted in 1830 this painting was inspired by the second French Revolution. It makes a powerful statement, and was painted to commemorate the toppling of King Charles X of France. Liberty is holding the flag of the French Revolution, the tricolour which became France’s National flag after these events. Another monumental painting measuring 102 x 128 inches.
Rembrandt ‘The Nightwatch’
Rembrandt was one of the most important Old Masters, and The Nightwatch is thought to be his most important work of art. Measuring 12 x 14 ft it showcases Rembrandt’s theatrical treatment of light and shadow. Completed in 1642 it depicts the Militia Company of District II and is one of the most famous of the Dutch Golden Age paintings. It can be seen in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
‘The Water Lilies series’ by Monet
Claude Monet painted this series between 1915 – 26, inspired by his surroundings at Giverny where he lived from 1883 until his death 43 years later. Monet painted around 250 water lily paintings, the largest pieces are housed in Musee de L’Orangerie in Paris. They fill the 2 consecutive oval rooms in the gallery, and if placed side by side, the paintings would measure nearly 300ft. Monet wanted the viewer to be able to immerse themselves completely in the paintings.
‘The Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt
Austrian Symbolist painter Klimt completed The Kiss in 1908. A glimmering painting with an abundance of gold leaf, painted during Klimt’s Golden Period. It measures 6’ x 6’ and depicts an ethereal embrace, the couple’s bodies entwined in beautiful decorative robes in the Art Nouveau style. It has become an iconic image, and the most recognizable of Klimt’s paintings. It hangs in the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. It is not the largest of Klimt’s paintings, (his Beethoven Frieze being almost 112 feet high), but it is perhaps his most beautiful and romantic piece.
‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ by Georges Seurat
Painted in the 1880’s in the style of Pointillism, millions of hand painted dots make up this painting by Seurat. It is his most famous work, and depicts Parisians relaxing at a park on the banks of the River Seine on a Sunday afternoon. Seurat sat in the park and made numerous sketches of the figures to perfect their form. It was exhibited in the last Impressionism exhibition in May 1886. The painting measures 7 x 10 ft and is in the Art Institute of Chicago.
‘No.1 (1950)’ by Jackson Pollock
Also entitled ‘Lavender Mist’ this Pollock painting measures 7’ 3 x 9’ 10 inches. It was created using his signature action painting technique. He would pour, spray and splatter house paint onto a canvas on the floor. He said that he felt closer to the painting using this technique, as he was able to walk around it. When his ‘drip’ paintings were first exhibited in 1948 in New York, they met with much scepticism. Only one year later in a ‘Life’ magazine article, there was a caption under a photograph of Pollock saying ‘Is he the greatest living painter in the United States’.
Lavender Mist is signed in the top corners with Pollock’s handprints.