Recreating famous works of art is no easy task, and some skilled artists continue to struggle with the task. However, this trend has become increasingly popular.
Famous paintings can give us a glimpse into the past and represent an entire idea of movement that can be incredibly meaningful to an individual. Certain images can invoke a feeling of calm or wonder, acting as small daily reminders that can only be brought on by a favorite piece of art.
“Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh is an iconic oil on canvas painting from the famous post-impressionist painter. The swirling colors of blue and yellow spiral chaotically in the universe above a sleepy town. The inspiration for this piece came from the view that Van Gogh has from his bedroom while he was committed to an asylum.
“The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai is an instantly recognizable and beloved 19th Century masterpiece. While this tattoo may seem simple and straightforward, it is actually hiding a complicated meaning – take a look at the center of the image and you’ll find Mount Fuji hiding in plain sight. This image is so famous that it is synonymous with Japanese art and culture.
“The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt was painted during the height of the artists “Golden Period” that saw a number of other gilded works. This tattoo features a romantic moment between lovers as they intertwine in an embrace.
“Vitruvian Man” by Leonardo do Vinci is a classic drawing of the human body in two, superimposed positions. The sketch is based on the idea of ideal human proportions, which was originally described by this drawings namesake, an ancient Roman architect known as Vitruvius. This simple sketch showcases how architecture, geometry, and nature intersect.
Frida Kahlo is well known for her stunning self-portraits act as symbolic portrayals of psychological pain and often mix realism and fantasy. Her work was also deeply influenced by Mexican mythology and culture, often using elements of Mexican traditions and imagery within her paintings.
“The Persistence of Memory,” also known as Melting Clocks and The Soft Watches, is a surrealist piece that was created in 1931 by Salvador Dali. The melting clocks were meant to act as a symbolic image of the relativity of time and space, which was central to Dali’s thinking at the time of painting.
Georgia O’Keeffe, often referred to as the “mother of American modernism,” is well known for experimenting with perspective and often created close-up depictions of flowers. Upon moving to the Southwest, she transitioned into painting landscape and skull imagery.
Painted by the infamous Michelangelo, “The Creation of Adam” is a fresco painting and forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. This iconic image illustrates the narrative from the Book of Genesis. The image of Adam and God reaching for one another is symbolic of humanity and is one of the most replicated religious paintings of all time.
“The Scream of Nature” by Edvard Munsch was inspired by a sunset that turned the sky blood red. The exhausted painter was overcome with a tremendous feeling of anxiety and later said it felt as though a scream passed through the surrounding nature. The painting and tattoo below were meant to capture the same feeling.
“The Son of Man” by surrealist Rene Magritte is an oil on canvas painting that was originally meant to be a self-portrait. This well-known painting captures our fascination with things that are hidden while also suggesting that everything we see is hidden by something else.
This colorful tattoo pays homage to “Wham!” by Roy Lichtenstein, who is widely considered to be the forefather of the Pop Art movement. Inspired by advertisements and comic strips, Lichtenstein’s work features boldly colored parodies of American pop culture.
Keith Haring’s colorful, transgressive art style is inspired by the graffiti that he often saw on New York City streets. The pop-art feel behind his work, along with the bold lines and vibrant hues, brought him popularity and a wide audience. The charm of his simple figures can be seen in the timeless tattoo below.
Paintings aren’t the only art form that is being taken over by the tattoo industry. Sculptures are also a popular media that is often translated into body art. The tattoo below is an interpretation of the “Poseidon of Melos,” a statue of Poseidon that currently resides in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Banksy quickly made a name for himself in the underground art world and his brutally honest work has quickly propelled him into the mainstream. His performance art focuses on graffiti-inspired work, bold lines, and few vibrant colors. One work that has become increasingly popular is The Flower Thrower, which can be seen below.
“Impression, Sunrise” by Claude Monet is an oil painting that is credited for launching the Impressionist movement. The painting depicts a harbor from Monet’s hometown as a red sun rises in the distance. Many historians believe this painting was meant as an ode to a thriving France.