The Ghent Altarpiece

Artist: Hubert and Jan van Eyck

  • Year: c. 1432

In 1940, 18-year-old Marcel Ravidat opened a window to the distant past when he fell into a hole while out walking with his dog in the Dordogne region of France. The hole led to a cave covered with approximately 6,000 Paleolithic images depicting animals, enigmatic symbols, and a lone human form. The purpose of the paintings, created with mineral pigments and charcoal, is obscure but may be linked to some sort of ceremonial rite.

The Ghent Altarpiece

– Artist: Hubert and Jan van Eyck

– Year: c. 1432

Set aflame by Calvinists, hacked apart by avaricious dealers, and repeatedly stolen, “The Ghent Altarpiece” is arguably the most resilient painting in the history of art. Brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s Early Netherlandish polyptych, composed of 12 panels, was created for St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. In 1934, one of the smaller panels was stolen and never recovered. Several years later, Hitler developed an interest in the painting and had it transported to Germany, where it was rescued from a salt mine by the military unit composed of art historians known as The Monuments Men.

Arnolfini Portrait

  • Artist: Jan van Eyck
  • Year: 1434

Painted by Dutch master Jan van Eyck, this early Netherlandish panel painting is shrouded in symbolism. The elegantly dressed couple are thought to be Giovanni di Nicolao di Arnolfini, and his wife, Costanza Trenta, wealthy Italians living in Bruges. The unusual composition begs several questions. Does the painting celebrate the couple’s wedding, or commemorate some other event, such as a shrewdly negotiated marriage contract? Was the bride pregnant, or simply dressed in the latest fashion? And what are the mysterious figures depicted in the convex mirror? The unorthodox placement of van Eyck’s signature directly above it suggests one of the men may be the artist himself.

Lady With An Ermine  1482-1499

Lady with an Ermine is one Renaissance portrait created by Leonardo da Vinci. This Renaissance masterpiece was commissioned by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (known as il Moro), for whom Leonardo worked from c.1482-99. 

The artwork is put together with a layer of white gesso and a layer of brownish underpaint. The image depicts a half-height woman with her face angled at a three-quarter angle toward her right.

The Princes Czartoryski Collection, which included the Lady with an Ermine, was sold to the Polish government for €100 million on December 29, 2016, by the Princes Czartoryski Foundation. It is now on display in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków and is considered a national treasure of Poland. It is now on display in the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków. Furthermore, it is viewed as a national treasure of Poland. 

The Madonna with Saint Giovannino – Domenico Ghirlandaio

Though Italian Renaissance painter Domenico Ghirlandaio painted The Madonna with Saint Giovannino in the 15th century, this particular piece of art has kept viewers baffled until today. The painting, which portrays the Madonna with Jesus, appears to have nothing out of the ordinary. But when looked at more closely, it features an unidentifiable object hovering in the sky!
Hugely detailed, probably in order to ensure that it stands out, the object can be seen near Mary’s left shoulder. Under the object, on the ledge, the painting features a man staring at it, as he blocks the sun out with his hand.

Not surprisingly, the painting has intrigued U.F.O enthusiasts for ages, and while there is no agreement regarding the nature of the object, there is no doubt that its presence makes the painting a fascinating one!

Mona Lisa

– Artist: Leonardo da Vinci

– Year: 1503

Leonardo da Vinci’s woman of mystery has intrigued viewers for centuries. Traditionally identified as Italian noblewoman Lisa Del Giocondo, countless hypotheses have been put forth as to the sitter’s identity as well as explanations for her seemingly enigmatic smile. Extensive multi-spectral imaging conducted by Lumiere Technology in 2006, which uncovered years of varnish, didn’t shed any light as to the reasons behind the Mona Lisa’s facial expression, but it did reveal that her smile was originally broader than it appears today.

Some historians believe Mona Lisa is

Self-Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.

The Creation of Adam – Michelangelo

It is well-known that Michelangelo was an exceptional artist, architect and sculptor. However, not many people know that he was also an expert anatomist, who used to dissect corpses with the intention of producing anatomical sketches!

There are reasons to believe that Michelangelo left such anatomical illustrations behind in many of his works. The Creation of Adam, one of his most iconic works in the Sistine Chapel, is one such example.

Concealed within the robes and the faces of the figure of God, is a representation of the human brain – which many believe was the artist’s attempt at a covert attack on the church’s contempt for science!

The Ambassadors – Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger  – Year: 1533

The most in-demand portrait painter of his era, Hans Holbein spent a considerable amount of time at the court of Henry VIII. “The Ambassadors” depicts Jean de Dinteville, the French ambassador to England, and his friend, George de Selve, both in their late 20s; de Selve, the bishop of Lavaur, served as ambassador to both the Holy Roman emperor and the pope.
The painting is scattered with allegorical components, including a lute with broken strings—perhaps symbolic of Henry VIII’s break with Rome so that he could divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn. The blurry, black-and-white object that bisects the bottom of the composition is, in fact, a human skull, representing mortality. Striking use of anamorphosis, it can only be viewed from an acute angle, forcing observers to view the painting from a variety of perspectives.
Judith Slaying Holofernes

  • Artist: Artemisia Gentileschi
  • Year: 1610

Historically, it hasn’t been easy for women artists to break into the big time, but Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi did just that, exercising her demons in the process. Sexually assaulted at 18, Gentileschi angrily confronted her attacker in a public trial which ultimately set him free. She channeled her ensuing rage into her work, notably “Judith Slaying Holofernes,” which depicts determined Old Testament heroine Judith severing the head of the drunken Babylonian general.

Salvator Mundi

– Artist: Leonardo da Vinci

– Year: 1500

Believed for years to be the product of his atelier, or even a copy of a lost work by the Renaissance master, “Salvator Mundi” sold at auction in November 2017 for a cool $450.3 million after scholars reached a consensus that the painting was the work of da Vinci. Thought to be bound for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the small panel disappeared from public view immediately after auction at Christie’s. It is believed to be in the possession of a Saudi prince (possibly Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud), either locked away in a Swiss bank vault, or displayed on a luxury yacht somewhere on the high seas.


– Artist: Sandro Botticelli

– Year: 1477–1482

Christened “Primavera” by pioneering art historian Giorgio Vasari in 1550, Boticelli’s mysterious masterwork originally lacked a title. Although its precise meaning remains enigmatic, “Primavera” is an allegorical work inspired by classical mythology, depicting the transformation of the nymph Chloris into Flora, the goddess of spring. Commissioned by a member of the powerful Medici clan, it has been suggested that figures in the composition were modeled on members of the family.

The Night Watch


The creator of this painting, Rembrandt, is considered to be one of the best artists in the world. Creating many masterpieces which remained a true wonder to other artists. The Night Watch is one of his paintings. Completed in the year 1642, the shown characters are Captain Frans Banning Cocq and company. The creator, Rembrandt was expensively paid to create this painting.
The painting was removed from the Rijksmuseum in September 1939, at the onset of World War II. The canvas was detached from its frame and rolled around a cylinder. The rolled painting was stored for four years in a special safe that was built to protect many works of art in the caves of Maastricht, Netherlands. After the end of the war, the canvas was re-mounted, restored, and returned to the Rijksmuseum.