Paintings depict ideas, inspire people and keep generations alive. They have played an important role in our lives since time immemorial. René Magritte once said, “Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” It is a way of life. Well, if we specifically talk about iconic paintings throughout history, there are quite a few paintings with strong intentions, some are peculiar, some are mysterious, and dare I say expensive! Of course, they are priced at sky-high rates because they have lived through history and are as old as time.
We take a look at the Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings in the World and you will definitely go bonkers seeing their prices!
Salvator Mundi was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci around 1909 but made its first appearance in the public in 2011 at the National Gallery in London. It was sold for $450 million at an auction and it is the most expensive artwork to have ever sold. Salvator Mundi means Savior of the World in Latin and depicts Jesus Christ in a renaissance robe raising his right hand which signifies blessing and holding a crystal orb in his left hand signifying earth.
Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings and is recognized by people worldwide. It was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci and is estimated to have painted sometime between 1503 and 1519. It is a source of constant conjecture and fascination because of the sitter’s mysterious smile and also because it is not identified as to who is the woman in the painting! Historians say that she is Lisa del Giocondo, wife of a merchant named Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo.
It was painted over a course of a few years adding multiple layers of thin oil gazes. It is kept in Louvre Museum and its estimated value is more than $867 million but the museum would never sell it because it attracts so many visitors each year and brings in so much revenue.
Number 17 A
Number 17 A was painted in 1948 by Jackson Pollock and it is a drip painting, a very famous technique introduced and popularised by Jackson himself. It was sold for $200 million to Kenneth C. Griffin, an American billionaire in 2015.
‘When will you Marry’
‘When will you Marry’ is an oil painting from 1892 painted by French artist Paul Gauguin. It was sold to Hamad Al- Thani, in February 2015 for approximately $300 million. Paul Gauguin has painted a lot of native women, his famous painting being this one. This painting denotes a white tiare flower behind the woman’s left ear suggesting she is seeking a husband, hence the name ‘When will you Marry’.
The Card Players
The Card Players painted by Paul Cezanne from 1890-1892 is a series of paintings and he referred to the card players as “souvenirs of the museums”. He saw the notion of passing hours by playing cards into a timeless subject and put in a lot of hard work to paint it. A version of this painting was sold for $250 million in 2011 to the royal family of Qatar.
Interchange, also known as Interchanged was painted by Willem de Kooning and is an abstract painting. It was sold for $300 million to Kenneth C. Griffin and is currently loaned to and displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago.
‘The Scream’ painted by Edvard Munch in 1893 and it is very famous because it is quite astonishing and represents the anxiety people have in modern times. But, it has a deeper meaning to it, rather autobiographical significance where Munch and two of his friends are walking and when his friends leave him, he hears a terrible scream and covers his ears to protect himself. It was sold for a whopping price of $120 million.
No. 6 is a painting by Mark Rothko painted in 1951 and consists of violet, green and red colors set forth. It became one of the most expensive paintings to have sold at an auction at a price of 140 million euros.
Portrait of Dr. Gachet
Portrait of Dr. Gachet painted by Vincent Van Gogh in June 1890. It portrays the friendship between Dr. Gachet and Van Gogh, he was admitted into the doctor’s clinic in his last days and was inspired to paint this to signify their friendship. He painted two portraits of which one was sold for $82.5 million on May 15, 1990.
Woman III was painted by Willem de Kooning between 1951 and 1953. The central theme of this painting is a woman. In November 2006, the painting was sold to Steven A, a billionaire for $137. 5 million.