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Everyone can agree on the Top Ten paintings of all time, right?

I naively assumed that Top 10 Lists would agree, maybe not on all paintings, but at least on the top three. But they do not, even a little.

What’s the value of Top 10 lists if they do not agree, even a little bit?

I Googled “Top 10 Paintings” – a fairly generic search. As usual, 5% of the results were worth looking at. I am not picking out Google. I have a low opinion of all search software these days.

I picked out 6 lists and compred them. To be fair, most of the list creators did not claim that their lists were definitive or based on extensive research. Still, I we all can agree on the top three paintings, right? Sadly, no.

What were the three top paintings? Only 2 out of 6 ranked Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci as #1. Another 2 out of the 6 ranked Universal Judgement by Michelangelo as #2. None of the lists (0 out of 6) agreed on positions #3 – #10.

Who was the most popular artist? I depends on how one defines popular. One way is the number of paintings by an artist. Another way is the number of different lists inwhich the artist appeared.

Who had the most paintings; combining all 6 lists? Klimt. He had 4 different paintings. The next most popular was Leonardo da Vinci, with 3 paintings. Most of the rest of the Top Ten artists had 2 paintings.

Who was mentioned on the most Top Ten lists? Michelangelo was on the most lists, with 4. The next most popular were Botticelli and Jan Van Eyck, with their names on 3 lists.

Conclusion: There is not a clear #1, #2, or #3, nor is there a consensus most-popular artist.





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What everybody ought to know about the creation, sunflowers, and green eggs

What do the creation, sunflowers, and green eggs have in common?

They are all subjects of some well-known March-born artists:  Michelangelo (March 6, 1475), Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853), and Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss, March 2, 1904). I wonder what getting together with these guys for morning coffee would be like?

Many prominent women artists also share March birthdays. Among them is notable French artist Rosa Bonheur. Do you know Rosa? Now she sounds like someone I’d like to have coffee with.

Rosa was born on March 16th, 1822. She is one of the premier animal painters in history and has received many international honors. She’s dead now, but she was tremendously famous, infamous, and artistically successful in her lifetime. On top of all that, she was financially successful, too; no starving, crazed artist here. Her painting, The Horse Fair, became one of the most honored works of the 19th century (Myers, 2008) and one of the Metropolitan Museum’s best known works of art (Rosa Bonheur, 2008). Rosa accomplished all of this at a time when women were not allowed to enroll in academic art study in either public or private institutions.
For more information about Rosa Bonheur, visit these sites:

  • Rosa Bonheur: The Horse Fair (87.25). (December 2008). In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Retrieved from
  • Myers, Nicole. (September 2008). Women Artists in Nineteenth-Century France. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Retrieved from
  • Esaak, Shelley. (nd). Artists in 60 Seconds: Rosa Bonheur. Retrieved from

In honor of Women’s History Month 2011, I will feature four American artists with March birthdays. Who are they?  Hint: You might be unknowingly famous if you are in one of her photos.

The Horse Fair, 1853–55, Rosa Bonheur, Oil on canvas, 96 1/4 x 199 1/2 in.