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The Definitive Top 10 Paintings of All Time

There aren’t any.

In yesterday’s post, my unscientific analysis concluded that there is not a clear top #1, #2, or #3 painting, nor is there an agreed-upon most-popular artist.

My conclusion today:  Top Ten lists are actually someone’s list of their favorite paintings. Nothing wrong with that, but I think the titles should be changed. A more accurate title might be “My Favorite 10 Paintings”.

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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.