The world’s museums, churches, cathedrals, and even private homes, are filled with some extraordinary creations by some of the world’s greatest minds and talents. Some date back hundreds and even thousands of years, and continue to fascinate and impress those who see them today. If you want to get up close to the most famous and most awe-inspiring masterpieces, here they are:
Pietà By Michelangelo
Where to see it: St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
Michelangelo was just 25 years-old when he presented this life-sized sculpture of the Virgin Mary holdings Jesus Christ in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, in 1500. He had observed dead bodies as a teenager, and that may explain the realism in this dead Christ that other sculptors never achieved. Also remarkable is the fact that it was all sculpted from one single block of marble.
The Last Supper By Leonardo Da Vinci
Where to see it: Santa Maria Delle Grazie Convent, Milan
Da Vinci's other masterpiece depicts one of the Bible's most famous scenes. Unlike most other great works of art, it's not in a museum, but covering a wall of a convent in Milan, with limited access to visitors. Painted between 1494 and 1498, it's been speculated that one of the twelve apostles seen at the table with Jesus Christ is actually a woman, Mary Magdalene. That played a central role in the best-selling fiction novel "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown.
Mona Lisa By Leonardo Da Vinci
Where to see it: The Louvre Museum, Paris
It's the masterpiece of all masterpieces, the most famous, most discussed and most enigmatic of all paintings. It's the portrait of a woman, said to be named Lisa Gherardini, painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1503 and 1506. It's been on permanent display in Paris since 1797, except for a period of two years when it was stolen in 1911, before returning to the Louvre in 1913. The depicted smile has continuously captured the world's imagination ever since.
Starry Night By Vincent Van Gogh
Where to see it: Museum Of Modern Art, New York
Van Gogh's most famous painting shows the village of Saint-Rémy and is considered his greatest masterpiece. The view is that of his asylum's bedroom window, and was painted from memory in 1889. It's been in New York since 1941.
The Creation Of Adam By Michelangelo
Where to see it: Apostolic Palace, Rome/Vatican City
The world's most famous fresco covers the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museum. Michelangelo took four years to paint the scene from the Old Testament of God creating Adam, and the iconic image of their hands touching has been reproduced countless times.
The Birth Of Venus By Botticelli
Where to see it: Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Painted by Botticelli between 1485 and 1487, this is the goddess Venus being born, emerging from the sea. No one really knows where it was first displayed, but it was commissioned by the Medici family in Florence. It's become one of the most reproduced images of all time.
Guernica By Picasso
Where to see it: Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid
Picasso's most famous work dates from 1937 and presents the tragedy of war in an effort to draw attention to the bombing of Guernica (a Basque town) by the Germans. It's an enormous painting, measuring over 3 meters (11 ft).