Here are 25 Kickass and Interesting Facts About Paintings.

1-5 Interesting Facts About Paintings


1. While living in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, one German officer allegedly asked Pablo Picasso, upon seeing a photo of Guernica in his apartment, “Did you do that?” Picasso responded, “No, you did.” The painting was about the effects of German Bombardment on the Spanish Town of Guernica. – Source

2. Leonardo DiCaprio was named after the other famous Leonardo: Leonardo DaVinci. Before he was born, the story goes, DiCaprio’s mother felt her baby kick for the first time while she was standing in front of a portrait of Leonardo DaVinci at a gallery in Florence, Italy. According to Leo, his father took this as a cosmic sign. – Source

3. Mona Lisa has no clearly visible eyebrows or eyelashes. In 2007, French engineer Pascal Cotte announced that his ultra-high resolution scans of the painting provide evidence that Mona Lisa was originally painted with eyelashes and with better visible eyebrows, but that these had gradually disappeared over time, perhaps as a result of overcleaning. – Source

4. Some German cities have public “art libraries” you can borrow an art work (painting or little sculpture), mostly from local artists, for 3 months, paying a little fee of 5 euros for insurance and take it home, enjoying it in the privacy of your own place, at your own pace and whenever you want. – Source

5. Dutch painter Rembrandt’s miserly ways were so well known that his students played trick on him by painting coins on the floor, which their master naturally stooped to pick up. – Source

6-10 Interesting Facts About Paintings

American Gothic

6. The American Gothic painting by Grant Wood is not of husband and wife, but of a father and daughter. – Source

7. For most of history, smiling in a painting or photo was considered radical, and even Mark Twain once wrote, “A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever.” – Source

8. A painting bought by a priest for £400 was revealed on Antiques Roadshow UK to be the work of the 17th Century master Sir Anthony Van Dyck and to be worth £400,000. The priest was happy to have the extra money to buy new church bells. – Source

9. Despite being one of the most famous painters in history, only 15 paintings of Leonardo da Vinci are known to exist. This is due in part to Leonardo’s frequently disastrous experimentation with new techniques and his chronic procrastination. – Source

10. After the Taliban destroyed the ancient Buddha statues in 2001, archaeologists discovered a series of ancient caves with 1000-year-old paintings depicting various scenes from Buddhist mythology. They are believed to be the oldest oil paintings ever found. – Source

11-15 Interesting Facts About Paintings

The Scream

11. After the eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia in 1883, the atmospheric debris resulted in blood red sunsets all over the world for months. The painting “The Scream” depicts a Krakatoa sunset over Oslo, Norway. – Source

12. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston has not removed empty frames of stolen paintings from the walls after an art theft in 1990. The art stolen is worth 500 million, the largest property theft ever. – Source

13. In 2007, a Bristol couple had trouble selling their house due to graffiti on the side of their house. When they found out that the mural was painted by the graffiti artist Banksy, they decided to sell the painting with the house thrown in free. They received twice the asking price. – Source

14. Bill Murray once decided to commit suicide by drowning in Lake Michigan after doubting his abilities in the early days of his acting career in Chicago. He ultimately changed his mind on the way to the lake after seeing a painting from French painter Jules Breton – Source

15. Mr. Tatsuo Horiuchi, a 73-year-old man living in Gunma, Japan creates paintings only using Microsoft Excel since 2000. – Source

16-20 Interesting Facts About Paintings

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

16. Franklin D. Roosevelt collapsed and subsequently died while sitting for a painting that still remains unfinished. – Source

17. There was a chimp named Congo resident of London Zoo in 1950s, who painted over 400 paintings. If zoologists tried to take away a painting before he considered it finished, he would flip out, and if he considered a painting finished he couldn’t be made to continue it. – Source

18. The worldwide presence of new isotopes from atmospheric atomic testing beginning in the 1950s led to the 2008 development of a reliable way to detect art forgeries. Paintings created after that period may contain traces of caesium-137 and strontium-90, isotopes that did not exist in nature before 1945. – Source

19. In 2010, an elderly man in Germany was investigated for having large sums of cash and since he was unemployed and with no obvious means of income, in September 2011 the prosecutor obtained a warrant to investigate his small flat in Schwabing, Munich. In late February 2012, when checking the premises, they discovered more than a thousand pieces of art, with a present estimated value of up to €50 million. The artworks were suspected of being looted by the Nazis around World War II. – Source

20. John Lennon almost got beaten up during a mid-1970s visit to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion – when he put out a cigarette on a priceless painting by French artist Matisse. – Source

21-25 Interesting Facts About Paintings

George Washington Painting

21. The Apotheosis of Washington is a fresco painting on the dome of the United States Capitol Building. It depicts George Washington literally ascending to heaven and becoming a God. – Source

22. In 1989, a Philadelphia financial analyst bought an old painting (a depiction of a country scene) for $4 at a flea market in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, mostly because he liked the frame. While investigating a tear in the canvas, the frame fell apart in his hands, leading him to discover a folded document which appeared to be an old copy of the Declaration of Independence stored between the canvas and its wood backing. He later learned that the document was in fact a rare original Dunlap broadside, one of 500 official copies from the first printing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He sold it for $2.4 million – Source

23. La Maja Desnuda was an oil on canvas painting by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya, portraying a nude woman reclining on a bed of pillows. Two sets of stamps depicting La Maja Desnuda in commemoration of Goya’s work were privately produced in 1930, and later approved by the Spanish Postal Authority. That same year, the United States government barred and returned any mail bearing the stamps. This was the first time that a stamp represented a naked woman. – Source

24. Women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings. By comparing the relative lengths of certain fingers researchers determined that three-quarters of the handprints were female. – Source

25. A documentary film called “My Kid Could Paint That” was supposed to be about the child painting prodigy Marla Olmstead, a young girl from Binghamton, New York. It turned into an investigative piece when it turned out her parents were likely producing “her” artwork – Source

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Last Update: November 18, 2014

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