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5 Famous Paintings and their Background Stories

Every Painting has a story to tell. From artists like Da Vinci, Vermeer, Van Gogh, we bring you a list of famous paintings and their background stories!


“How many times have people used a pen or paintbrush because they couldn’t pull the trigger?” – Virginia Woolf.

An artist uses his brush to narrate a story. Each painting has in itself thousands of stories.

Like a poem which has various interpretations, a painting too always remain clandestine with its ambiguous meaning.

Through the years we have seen various masterpieces surfacing from time to time on social media.
You might have heard of all the paintings we have written about atleast once in your life time.

However, from the ones listed down below, how many background stories about the paintings did you know about?

So here is the list of 5 famous paintings and their background stories!

1. Portrait of Dr Gachet


After his discharge from the asylum, Vincent Van Gogh was sent to Dr Gachet to keep him under the doctor’s supervision for some time.

Gachet was also a fanatic of working artists.
A few days later, Vincent wrote to his brother that he should look for some other doctor as Gachet was sicker than him.

However, some days later he wrote to his sister, “I have found a true friend in Dr Gachet, something like another brother, so much do we resemble each other physically and also mentally.”

And thus began a wonderful friendship. Van Gogh painted two styles of the Portrait Dr Gachet.
After winding up the painting, he wrote to his brother Theo, “I’ve done the portrait of M. Gachet with a melancholy expression, which might well seem like a grimace to those who see it”.

Presently, it is one of the most popular and costly paintings of all time.

2. The Scream

Creator of one of the most expensive paintings worldwide- Edward Munch’s painting “The Scream” is the next!


This distinct piece of art has undoubtedly bewildered many, attracting several more and scaring a few as well.

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Coming to the background story of this peculiar painting, the artist Edward wrote in his journal that the idea behind “The Scream” came in his imagination.

One pleasant evening, he was taking a stroll through the city roads. For a moment, he stopped wandering and glimpsed at the skies. The setting sun and the clouds in the sundown were giving the sky blood-red colour.

He also heard a vague creaking sound from beneath the city.
He narrated the sight as if the whole nature was screaming for something.

With this vivid scenario in his mind, he began painting The Scream with red skies and screaming backgrounds.
There are a total of four styles of this painting all of which are kept in prominent art galleries around the globe.

3. Mona Lisa

Famous paintings and their background storiesNo introduction is needed to make you familiar with perhaps the most famous painting in the world- the well-known lady with a mysterious smile and no eyelashes, ‘Mona Lisa’.
Created by Leonardo Da Vinci, the subject of the famous painting is speculated to be Lisa Del Giocondo, the spouse of a rich businessman of that period.

Da Vinci made this painting when Lisa with her husband shifted to a new house where they had their second child.
Nonetheless, there are distinct beliefs about the painting and some even believe that Mona Lisa is none other than Da Vinci himself.
The background story of Mona Lisa still remain vague and the truth veiled. But the significance of this painting is beyond one can comprehend.
Mona Lisa is on exhibit at The Louvre in Paris.


4. The Last Supper

Another one of Leonardo’s famous paintings, this one is known for its subjects and quality.
The painting is speculated to be finished in the year 1498. It was done as a piece of the renovation to the ancient church and convent.
The mural painting can be observed on the walls of the Convent of Santa Maria Della Grazie in Mila.

The painting illustrates the tension and despair of the disciples of Jesus when they came to know by the premonition that one of them will betray Jesus. This piece of art is considered a significant one in both the Christian and the world art.
This enormous painting measures  180×360 inches.

5. Girl with a Pearl Earring

A classic of the Dutch Golden Age, the painting is a creation of Johannes Vermeer.

The painting has the mojo to transfix its spectators for hours with the lady’s wistful watch permanently since the masterpiece resurfaced in the 19th century.

Though, very little is known about the lady who is the subject of the painting.

It is assumed that the lady was Vermeer’s daughter or his mistress. While one of the two may be accurate, the image however in actuality was not aimed at the manifestation of a real human being.


The turban clad by the lady implies that the piece was planned as a “tronie”- which is an idealized portrait masked in exotic outfit.

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  1. […] 5 Famous Paintings and their Background Stories […]

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