My Musings

Top Ten Classic Paintings

Top Ten Classic Paintings

I may want to change this list tomorrow, but for today, here are the ten greatest paintings of all time, in my humble opinion.

  1. Samson (and Delilah), 1887, by Solomon Joseph Solomon (English, 1860-1927), oil on canvas, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. See Judges 16. Samson is under intense assault by Philistines as the delighted, vindictive Delilah taunts him with his severed hair in her hand.
  2. Evening, 1888, by Charles Sprague Pearce (American, 1851 – 1914), born in Boston and studied in Paris.
  3. The Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan of Turkey, 1880–1891, by Ilya Repin (1844-1930), late-19th century Russian painter, teacher at St Petersburg Academy. Oil on canvas, 140.9 × 79.9 in, State Russian Museum, St.Petersburg. Under the demand for their submission from a sultan, these proud Cossacks are collaborating on a mocking reply, which they know they may incur the wrath of the Sultan.
  4. Daniel in the Lion’s Den, 1896, by Henry Ossawa Tanner (American, 1859-1937). Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Tanner once wrote: “My effort has been not only to put the Biblical incident in the original setting… but at the same time give the human touch which makes the whole world kin, [and] to convey to my public the reverence and elevation these subjects impart to me.” The son of a minister, Tanner allegedly told his father, “you preach from the pulpit and I will preach with my brush.”
  5. Evening Bells, by Isaac Levitan (1860-1900), One of the greatest landscape painters among the progressive group of 19th century Russian Itinerants (Wanderers), noted for his mastery of light and colour.
  6. King Lear; Cordelia’s Farwell (1898), by Edwin Austin Abbey (American, 1852 – 1911), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
  7. Lamentation Over the Death of the First Born of Egypt, 1877. Charles Sprague Pearce (American, 1851-1914). National Museum of American Art, Washington DC. A critic described this work as “a picture one will not forget.” I saw it over twenty years ago and I still remember the museum, the room, the painting and how deeply it moved me.
  8. Secluded Monastery(1890), by Isaac Levitan (1860-1900), One of the greatest landscape painters among the progressive group of 19th century Russian Itinerants (Wanderers), noted for his mastery of light and colour. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
  9. Bargemen on the Volga (1870-73) by Ilya Repin (1844-1930), State Russian Museum, St.Petersburg. oil on canvas, 51.8 X 110.6 in.
  10. The Angelus (1859), by Jean-Francois Millet (1814-75), devout French realist painter of peasants at work, key member of Barbizon School. Musee d’Orsay.

     

    Photo Credits:

    Samson (and Delilah)

    Evening

    The Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan of Turkey

    Daniel in the Lion’s Den

    Evening Bells

    King Lear; Cordelia’s Farwell

    Isaac Levitan

    Bargemen on the Volga

    The Angelus

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About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

Discussion

  1. Claire Marie-Peterson  August 4, 2014

    Thank you for sharing all of these paintings with me over the past several years. They are now part of my own visual memory, each with meaning you have helped to impart.

    (reply)
    • Joel Solliday  August 4, 2014

      You are so welcome. What a blessing you are!

      (reply)

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