Ask anyone to name the most famous paintings they can imagine, and the list that the average person will rattle off will contain most of the usual suspects; the rockstars of the art world, if you will. But while most people could name a decent selection of very famous pieces, most probably wouldn't be able to tell you where you can find, and visit, them at the moment. Here are just a few of the world's most famous paintings, and where you can track them down.
Mona Lisa (The Louvre, Paris)
Not just the most famous piece painted by Da Vinci, but arguably the most famous painting ever completed, the Mona Lisa is sure to be on the bucket list of the majority of art enthusiasts around the globe. Started in 1503, the painting is believed to be of Lisa Gherardini, wife of a Florentine cloth merchant named Francesco del Giocondo who commissioned the painting.
However, rather than the famous work going to the person who commissioned it, Da Vinci is believed to have taken the painting to France before his death, where it passed through the hands of private collectors, before settling in the world famous Louvre in Paris, where it now resides in its own Mona Lisa room on the first floor. It's sure to be the first port of call for any art lovers taking a trip to the gallery.
The Scream (National Gallery, Oslo)
Another instantly recognisable classic, Edvard Munch's The Scream has inspired horror props and, probably, countless nightmares with its ghoulish and dark imagery since its painting in 1893. The autobiographical work has been the subject of numerous theft attempts over the last few years, not all of which have been failures.
The version of The Scream which was on display at Oslo's National Gallery was most recently stolen in 2004. Although it was feared it would never be recovered, it was several months later, and the painting is now back on display in Norway's capital, waiting to awe visitors with its dark subject matter.
Weeping Woman (Tate Modern, London)
The Weeping Woman, or to give its original title Femme en pleurs, is one of Pablo Picasso's best known pieces, a subsidiary piece of his epic Guernica, which he painted in 1937 in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War bombing of the town of the same name. This is known as the most elaborate and spectacular of the Guernica subsidiaries, and is well worth a visit for all art lovers.
Those looking to see Weeping Woman, which shows the story of a woman mourning the death of her child in the aftermath of the Guernica bombings can now do so in London. The artwork is located in the Civil War dedicated galleries of the Tate Modern, where it will delight and move art enthusiastic in their millions every year.
Sunflowers (National Gallery, London)
An uninspiring title for what has become one of the most iconic pieces of all time, Sunflowers is the crowning glory of the life work of Vincent Van Gogh, and probably the only work that comes close to rivalling the Mona Lisa in terms of international fame, and art lovers can now visit the piece at the National Gallery in London, where it sits in Room 43, dominating the gallery and towering over all other works there.
The piece is one of four similar paintings that Van Gogh famously painted in the year 1888, where his intention was to create many more. And despite its less than fascinating subject matter, the majesty of brushstrokes and tones used by the legendary artist means that this is one of the most beloved paintings ever created, and well worth heading to London to catch a glimpse of.
Water Lilies (Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris)
Although the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris is home to works from a number of the most famous artists of all time, nothing there is as dominant or majestic as its display of eight works that come together to form the Water Lilies display. Claude Monet's most famous works are laid out exactly as he intended in the gallery to really help bring them to life for fans to see and truly appreciate the way they were intended.
For those looking to experience Water Lilies, the Musée de l'Orangerie has the eight paintings laid out in two oval rooms, along the walls to create an all-encompassing experience that really helps to give the paintings the importance and weight that they, and Monet, deserve. It's one of the most unique and fantastic displays around, and one that has to be seen to be believed.