Top 10 Mystifying Paintings of All Time

Top 10 Mystifying Paintings of All Time

What is Art? To some it’s a treat to the eyes, it’s an inspiration to do more, and to some, it’s a mystery. One thing that is common in all is that Art is always an escape from the real world. It makes us expand our imagination to the most unvisited places our minds could take us.

Some of the greatest artists of all time have not only left their masterpieces for us to see and cherish, but also to think about the hidden messages. 

Keep reading to find out our list of the top 10 most mystifying paintings the world has ever seen:

Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci

The first one to top our list has to be the world’s most famous painting- Mona Lisa. In 1503, Leonardo Da Vinci painted this masterpiece which has already given rise to endless speculations. Being guarded in the most incredible art museums Louvre, the woman in the painting is now believed to be Lisa del Giocondo, an Italian merchant’s wife. A highly noticeable thing in the mysterious painting is her perplexing facial expression and her eyes which seem to be following us around the room.  In 2010, Leonardo’s initials LV were discovered in Mona Lisa’s right eye and the letter S (possibly referring to the Sforza family) was found in her left.

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Van Gogh


Vincent Van Gogh, the infamous Dutch painter is looked upon by many aspiring artists. Some of his notable works include The Potato Eaters (1885), The Starry Night (1889), and Wheatfield with Crows (1890). He died a suspenseful death in July 1890 with an assumption of suicide. The shreds of evidence collected after his death never fully added up. Later, it was found that he was shot by a boy named Rene Secretan. One of Van Gogh’s works, his Self-portrait is a mysterious painting. There, he depicts himself with an injured right ear instead of the left one (which he had actually cutoff). There are many existing and emerging theories as to what led him to cut his own ear. One of them speaks of severe self-harm. Also, the painting is assumed to be a mirror image of Van Gogh. 

The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci

One of the most scrutinized paintings of all time, The Last Supper has a special spot on our list. It is still uncovering many secrets. While some art historians take a closer look at the food displayed on the table or the hands of Christ, others have completely distinct theories. Sabrina Sforza Galitzia, an Italian researcher has an exceptional interpretation. Looking at the painting closely, she believes that Da Vinci has left his prediction about the end of the world. Sabrina deciphered the astrological and mathematical codes to conclude that the world would end on March 21, 4006. 

The Old Guitarist, Pablo Picasso

Painted by Pablo Picasso in 1903-04, The Old Guitarist hides a big mystery. Today the painting is displayed in the Art Institute of Chicago. After looking closely at the X-Ray images, the researchers have uncovered the mysterious shapes that seem to be intentionally concealed underneath the guitarist. These secretive shapes are assumed to be of a hunch back woman with a child and an animal. It is believed that Picasso, being low on funds, painted over an already painted canvass. But one of the things that remain to be answered is- Why did Picasso leave the woman clearly visible to the naked eye? 

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Michelangelo

Source: Sistine’s (Reason and Meaning)

Michelangelo has given the world some of the most historic art pieces. Be it the sculpture of David, or the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, his work is admired by all. To understand and express better, Michelangelo carried out various dissections of corpses which inspired him to produce the frescoes. In Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, a brain could be vividly seen on God’s neck, depicting his knowledge of the human body. In other frescoes too, one can witness elaborate human body parts. The highly detailed and world-famous frescoes by Michelangelo carries numerous mysteries.

The Night Watch, Rembrandt

Soure: Vjiram IAS

Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn, the celebrated Dutch artist, painted his masterpiece The Night Watch in 1642.  The painting is famous for its colossal size and the perception of motion of the static military group. The artist has dramatically used light and shadow in the painting, making it one of the most complex paintings of all time. The Night Watch has many conspiracy theories that inspired film directors to present their views. When the painting was restored and cleaned in 1947, it was found out that the painting was originally set up in daylight. It was due to a thick layer of soot that it was being seen as a night scene.

Girl with a Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer

Many of us have seen this one. The portrait of a girl with a pearl earring and an irresistible stare.  For the last three centuries, people around the world have been mesmerized and captivated by Johannes Vermeer’s portrait of the girl. Many have questioned the real identity of the girl and her relationship with the artist. Some say she might have been Vermeer’s daughter, while others have no clue about his private life. The mystery remains unsolved. Even today, most of us are amazed by the way the artist managed to capture such a beautiful gaze.

Mozart and Freemasonry, Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni

Source: Wikipedia

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, famously known as Mozart was born in Vienna. He composed great music combining traditional and contemporary styles. He died at the early age of 35.  One of his childhood portraits painted by Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni holds a secret. It depicts that Mozart was a mason. The hidden hand shows a hierarchical rank. 

Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I, Gustav Klimt

It is believed that Adele Bloch Bauer’s husband Ferdinand Bloch Bauer, found out about his wife’s affair with the prominent painter Gustav Klimt. He then commissioned Klimt to paint Adele’s portraits with a belief that after painting hundreds of portraits, the painter would eventually hate Adele. This painting is believed to be the one that survived Hitler’s force. It was restored and is famously known as Woman in Gold.

Rembrandt’s Self-Portraits, Rembrandt

After thoroughly studying and examining Rembrandt’s self-portraits, Bevil Conway and Margaret Livingstone discovered that the painter has a squint in his eyes. He is believed to have suffered from stereo blindness.  Rembrandt has given the world some of the great masterpieces. His self-portraits reveal the secret behind his creativity. Many people believe that he saw the world in 2D instead of 3D and that led him to produce beautiful art.

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