To speak of the history of art is to address one of the most beautiful humanistic fields. Architectures, sculptures and paintings are a true manifesto of beauty. Once upon a time, those who could afford to buy them, especially among the noble classes, often created real collections. To buy the masterpieces of the great masters, one had to have a large fortune. In fact, the figures for the most beautiful paintings are decidedly prohibitive and not within everyone’s reach, despite the value of an artist sometimes known only at the time of death. That is why, in the more expensive works of art than ever, important names are missing. It will surprise you to know that there are no Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Dalì or Kandinskij for example. In the following guide you can find out more about the most important works of art of all time.
Leonardo da Vinci: Salvator Mundi
The year is 1499 and during the Italian Renaissance, the figure of Leonardo da Vinci soon becomes known throughout the world. A talented engineer, mathematician, painter and inventor, Leonardo da Vinci created the most valuable masterpiece of all time: the Salvator Mundi. It is said to be worth about 450.3 million dollars. The painting is dedicated to a religious theme: Christ the Saviour protecting humanity. A half-length close-up and the symbol of peace immediately strike the viewer.
Paul Gauguin: Nafea Faa Ipoipo
For the Peruvian-born artist who grew up in Paris, known in the art scene primarily for his troubled relationship with Van Gogh, this painting represented a fortune. Paul Gauguin always included oriental themes in his artworks, having lived mainly in Polynesia for a long period. The title of Gauguin’s second best-selling painting means “When do you get married?” and it was sold at auction for a decidedly record price: 300 million. The artist’s primitive brushstrokes and exotic style reach their maximum splendour here.
Paul Cézanne: Card Players
Among the most expensive works of art of all time, an artist of Paul Cézanne’s calibre could not be missed. There is talk of $250 million for the picture of the “Card Players” which is believed, although there is no certainty about it, to have been sold to the Qatari royal family. The author, a pre-Cubist and charismatic personality from whom Picasso drew inspiration, although associated with the Impressionists, never wanted to fit into any artistic definition or trend.
Andy Warhol: Orange Marilyn
In 1964 Andy Warhol made his name with his Pop Art. At that time in America, the first advertisements had stereotyped and trivialised everything, so the artist jumped to create a provocative movement. His silkscreens are a mixture of photography and re-adjustment: he took famous people and reproduced the cliché several times but coloured it differently. Among his most famous works of art, the best known is Marilyn Monroe, the film diva to whom Andy Warhol has dedicated more creations. The work, worth $250 million, was bought by a major American financier.
Jackson Pollock: Number 17 A
Among the most expensive works of art of all time is the inventor of Action Painting: Jackson Pollock. The painting was paid $200 million, but its buyer said he would spend even more. The artist became famous for his paintings, which he only ever titled with numbers. The technique of “dripping” then, i.e. the ability to make the colour flow onto the canvas, allowed him to stand out in the art panorama by creating a timeless memory of himself.