Most Famous Portraits in the World

by Raven T.

Portrait painting is a class of art where the human subject is the primary focus. The facial expression and personality are always captured in great portraits by artists.

Back then, in the days when there was nothing like "selfies" and no phones with cameras, it would be an honor to have your portrait painted. Funny enough, most of these models had to sit still for hours to get a picture of themselves. So, the next time you have a portrait of yourself, remember these arts and thank God for technology. Because this is the only reason, you are not sitting still for an extended period as the ancient did.

To execute a successful portrait in those days, there are many crucial factors one needs to note. They include a detailed understanding of light, anatomy and a keen interest in understanding how individuals reflect or express their emotions.

However, some portraits have been able to stand the test of time and are recognized up to this moment.

Summary of Most Famous Portraits in the World

Summary of Most Famous Portraits in the World
Summary of Most Famous Portraits in the World

Here is a table highlighting the famous portraits in the World with their corresponding artist and year.

Portraits Artist Year
  1. Mona Lisa's portrait.
Leonardo da Vinci1517
  1. Portrait of a girl with a pearl earring
  1. Johannes Vermeer
Adele Bloch-Bauer I portraitGustav Klimt1907
  1. Portrait of the Las Dos Fridas (The Two Fridas)
Frida Kahlo1939
  1. The portrait of Arnolfini
  1. Jan van Eyck
  1. Le Reve (The Dream)
Pablo Picasso1932
The American Gothic portraitGrant Wood1930

List of Most Famous Portraits in the World

In this article, we will be talking about the Most Famous Portraits in the World. You might have come across or heard about most of them. If not all, but are you aware of the captivating events surrounding each of them?

Guess you will find out soonest.

List of the World's most famous Portraits.

Mona Lisa's Portrait

Mona Lisa's Portrait
Mona Lisa's Portrait

Year; 1517.

Painted by; Leonardo da Vinci.

Mona Lisa is probably the most famous face in the World. This portrait was painted during the 16th century. It was done by the great Leonardo da Vinci, a well-known distinguished figure who succeeded in several professions, including art.

Based on a biographer's statement, the Lady in the picture is Lisa Geraldine. She is the wife of Francesco del Giaconda (a merchant).

The Mona Lisa portrait, however, is one art that has been celebrated as "the most visited," "the most parodied art," "the best-known art," and " the most written about" art worldwide.

The popularity of the art, however, rests on the sly smile on Mona Lisa's face. This is why the portrait is also known as "the laughing one" or "La Giaconda."

One fantastic thing about this portrait is that people do not notice that Lisa doesn't have any observable eyebrows. Could it be a case of over-cleaning, fading, or over-plucking? I'm guessing you, and I will never know.

For the Painter Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa portrait was always a work in progress. He didn't send it to its commissioner. Instead, it was kept with him (Leonardo da Vinci) till the point of his death.

According to the Guinness worlds Records, the Mona Lisa portrait is the painting with the highest insurance value in history. As of 14th December 1962, it was evaluated at the price of a hundred million dollars ($100M). It increased to around seven hundred and ninety million dollars ($790M) in 2016 after adjusting inflation.

Girl with a Pearl Earring Portrait

Girl with a Pearl Earring Portrait
Girl with a Pearl Earring Portrait

Year ; 1665

Painted by ; Johannes Vermeer

This adorable portrait was lunge forward into the spotlight in 2003 when a film bearing the same name was produced. It featured the artist (a role played by Colin Firth) and the equally beautiful Scarlett Johansson (as the pretty girl in the painting).

Johannes Vermeer, the painter of this perfect portrait, is possibly the best-recognized artist after Rembrandt in the dutch golden age. The picture is his most celebrated work. It expresses a girl from Europe with an oriental turban (hat), exotic dress, and a vast pearl earring.

Although nothing much is on record about Vermeer and the painting model. Girl with the Pearl Earring is among the most famous portrait ever created. It is also known as the " Mona Lisa of the North."

Tracy chevalier (an American novelist), in 1999, wrote an ancient novel with the same name as the painting. She fictionalized the account of the invention of the painting. This afterward was turned into a film with the exact title as the painting.

Adele Bloch-Bauer I Portrait

Adele Bloch-Bauer I Portrait
Adele Bloch-Bauer I Portrait

Year ; 1907

Painted by ; Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt is a well-known artist from Austria. He obtained a remarkable achievement when he created the famous portrait during his "golden phase." The portrait's character is no other person than Adele Bloch-Bauer. She is the wife of a wealthy sugar producer and Jewish banker, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. She was 25 years of age at the time the portrait was made.

"The woman in Gold," another name for Adele Bloch-Bauer I, was stolen in 1941 by the Nazis. However, In 2006, the iconic portrait was returned by Maria Altman (Adele's niece) to the family. This was after she had a legal battle with the Austrian government for seven (7) years.

In the same year, Adele Bloch-Bauer's portrait was sold at a hundred and thirty-five million dollars ($135M). Thus establishing a record of the painting with the highest-paid price. In 2017, after the inflation adjustment, the Adele Bloch-Bauer portrait ranked number 12 on the list of portraits with the highest-paid price.

Portrait of the Las Dos Fridas (The Two Fridas)

Portraitof the Las Dos Fridas (The Two Fridas)
Portrait of the Las Dos Fridas (The Two Fridas)

Year ; 1939

Painted by ; Frida Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo is an artist from Mexico. She is famous for making self-portraits that always contain symbolic descriptions of psychological and physical wounds. She was in a very rough relationship with another well-known painter from Mexico, Diego Rivera, whom she got married to, separated, and re-married again.

The Two Fridas (The Portrait of Las Dos Fridas) was created when Kahlo was going through a divorce with Diego Rivera. The portrait was created to describe her loss.

The Two Fridas portrait is a duplicate self-portrait. On the right side of the picture is Frida putting on a traditional Mexican outfit, with her heart still intact. While on the right side, Fridas puts on a white European fashion outfit with a bleeding and torn heart. One year later, Rivera re-married Kahlo. Even though their second marriage was just like the first, she endured until her death.

However, the Two Fridas portrait is Kahlo's most extensive work of art, and not to mention it was her most popular too.

The Portrait of Arnolfini

The Portrait of Arnolfini
The Portrait of Arnolfini

Year ; 1434

Painted by ; Jan van Eyck.

Jan van Eyck is a Dutch artist. This is one of his incredibly captivating paintings showing the matrimony of Giovanni Arnolfini and his spouse. Because this art is quite old (painted in 1434), it is effortless to see Jan Van Eyck's incredible skill.

This fantastic portrait is quite famous because of the impressive philosophy and symbolism within.

The Arnolfini portrait is also called the Arnolfini wedding. It has been noticed that the woman in the picture is not Giovanni's first wife as she had deceased in the year 1433. From 1861 to 1990, it was believed that the woman described in the portrait was Giovanna Cenami. In 1994, it was found out that the marriage between the two (Arnolfini and Cenami) was held in 1447 (6 years after Van Eyck died). Thus the identity of the woman in the portrait is still a mystery to date.

Le Reve (The Dream)

Le Reve (The Dream)
Le Reve (The Dream)

Year ; 1932

Painted by ; Pablo Picasso.

The painter Picasso is one of the greatest painters of all time. This artwork is possibly his most celebrated portrait. The art portrays Marie-Therese Walter, his French mistress.

Unlike Dora Maar, his departed mistress whom he (Picasso) always represented as threatening, Marie-Therese Walter often appears to be sunny, blond, and bright in his arts.

In a special sale in March 2013, the Le Reve was sold at a whopping prize of hundred and fifty-five million dollars ($155M). Bringing it to the number five (5) of the costliest painting sold at that period.

In August 2017, it became the 2nd highest paid prize for art made by Picasso. This was after Women of Algiers (Les Femmes d'Alger), which sold in May 2015 for a hundred and seventy-nine million, four hundred thousand dollars ($179.4M).

The American Gothic Portrait

The American Gothic Portrait
The American Gothic Portrait

Year ; 1930

Painted by ; Grant Wood.

The Dibble House, also known as the American Gothic House, is a cabin located in Eldon in the US. It was built in a Rural Gothic way.

In the year 1930, an American painter, known as Grant Wood, noticed the American Gothic house. He decided to sketch it on an envelope's rear side. Grant Wood is also known for portraying the rural American Midwest.

The following day, Grant Wood went further to obtain permission from the house residents to sketch the house, which he got. He painted the house alongside two people, his sister Nan Wood Graham. She poses as the Lady, and Dr. Byron McKeeby poses as the gentleman.

In 1930, the American Gothic portrait made it to the Chicago Art Institute's annual exhibition. It received a bronze medal. The museum later obtained it.

However, the American Gothic portrait is one of the unique art pieces of the 20th century. It has been widely imitated in most cultures.


Each year, artworks worth billions of dollars go through worldwide auction houses. Although most of these masterpieces are choose by leading galleries or museums, only a few of these artworks attain the popularity state.

I hope this was an informative and interesting piece. I hope you enjoyed reading through. Don't forget to share with family and friends.

About Raven T.

Reven T. is a highly influential fashion blogger known for their impeccable style, insightful fashion tips, and captivating content. With a passion for all things fashion, Reven has established themselves as a prominent figure in the industry, gaining a substantial following on various social media platforms.

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