11 Famous Paintings And The Fascinating Stories Behind Them

There are some poignant as well as some bizarre tales of inspiration, behind artworks of celebrated artists. We at Cupick, dug a little deeper and came across stories, some true, some speculative, of the origins of  some famous works of art as we know them.


 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘PORTRAIT OF DR. GACHET’

It is believed that Van Gogh was sent to Dr. Gachet, after being released from asylum, with the goal that he remain under supervision. Though Van Gogh was initially suspicious of the doctor, he soon became a his friend. He ended up painting two versions of his Portrait of Dr. Gachet.

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Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘AMERICAN GOTHIC’

Grant Wood found inspiration for the painting when he saw a small house built in Gothic style. He immediately drew a sketch of the house on an envelope he had on him and realized that the perfect models would be his own sister and dentist.

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American Gothic by Grant Wood

 

THE STORY BEHIND BY ‘THE SCREAM’

In one of the entries in his diary dated Nice 22 January 1892, Edvard Munch described the inspiration behind the art. 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.”

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The Scream by Edvard Munch

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘MONA LISA’

It is thought that the lady in the painting was a certain Lisa del Giocondo, who was a member of the Gherardini family of Florence and the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy Florentine silk merchant. It is alleged that the family had commissioned that the painting be made to celebrate the birth of their second son, Andrea.

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Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘THE LAST SUPPER’

Leonardo Da Vinci created ‘The Last Supper’ on the request of the Duke of Milan. It adorns the walls of the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan. It shows his disciples dismayed, shocked and lost in thoughts, contemplating, after Jesus predicts that one of the present apostles is about to betray him.

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The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘THE NIGHT WATCH’

One of the many masterpieces of Rembrandt, “The Night Watch”, was commissioned by the Captain Banning Cocq and seventeen members of his Kloveniers (civic military guards).

‘The Night Watch’ is famous as a target for vandalism. On January 13, 1911, a man slashed the painting with a shoemaker’s knife. After several years again on September 14, 1975, an unemployed school teacher attacked the painting with a bread knife, resulting in several zig-zag slashes. While the damage was restored successfully after four years, scratches can still be seen up close. On April 6 1990, The Night Watch again became a target of vandalism when a man sprayed acid onto the canvas. The security people intervened and sprayed water on the canvas in a quick action. Since the acid had penetrated only till the varnish layer of the painting, it was restored soon enough.

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The Night Watch by Rembrandt

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘GUERNICA’

Pablo Picasso created “Guernica” to reflect the aftermath that the Guernica city suffered following the attack of German and Italian war-planes on 26th April 1937. Today, “Guernica” is seen as a powerful symbol, warning humanity against the wide scale suffering and devastation that war brings about.

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Guernica by Pablo Picasso

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘THE STARRY NIGHT’

The painting is said to have been created during the day time in Van Gogh’s ground floor studio, allegedly from memory. However, this theory is debated a lot given the fact that the view he painted captures the outside view from the east facing window of his asylum room, just before sunrise.

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The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘SISTINE MADONNA’

This painting of Madonna is one of several Madonnas painted by famous Italian painter Raphael. In this painting, Madonna is shown holding the child Jesus, as Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara stand on either side. The Pope of the time, Julius II, commissioned the painting in 1512. Contemporary Italian artist Correggio was moved to tears on seeing the masterpiece.

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Sistine Madonna by Raphael

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘WHISTLER’S MOTHER’

While there are many interesting stories revolving around how this particular painting was conceived, one of the most talked about is the one concerning Anna McNeill Whistler, James Whistler’s mother. It is believed that Anna Whistler posed in replacement of a model who did not show up. James had initially envisioned painting the model standing up, but since his mother found it uncomfortable to keep standing for a long period of time, he captured the essence by painting his mother relaxing in a sitting position.

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Whistler’s Mother by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

 

THE STORY BEHIND ‘THE GOLDFINCH’

‘The Goldfinch’ is one of the many masterpieces created by Rembrandt’s student, Carel Fabritius. Fabritius painted it in a style, distinctively different from Rembrant. Fabritius died as a result of a gunpowder store explosion in Delft city. In the explosion, only a dozen of his paintings, including ‘The Goldfinch’ survived.

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The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius

 

Sources: Wikipedia.com, Speakingtree.in

Do you know any fascinating stories behind famous works of art? Share them with us in the comments.

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