Why do some paintings make the jump to masterpieces and others do not? Read below to find out!


1. American Gothic by Grant Wood

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Initially intended as the official White House portrait of Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover, artist Grant Wood did such a bad job of depicting the president and his wife that this painting was immediately thrown in the trash. It wasn’t until 1974 that the piece was recovered from a dump and displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago, where peopled flocked to see what has since been dubbed “the worst painting of a president ever.”


2. The Basket Of Apples by Paul CĂ©zanne

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While there have been tens of thousands of very good paintings of apples done over the years, this one is considered to be the best by far because the apples it depicts are extra crisp.


3. No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock

Via artistsinspireartists.com

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Just looks like random paint thrown on a canvas to you? Not quite. During his first exhibition in 1948, Pollock declared that he had taped a brand-new $5 bill somewhere under all the paint and that the first person to find it could keep it. Since then, millions have tried their luck, but to no avail, and that’s why it’s still one of the most popular pieces of modern art to this day.


4. Café Terrace At Night by Vincent van Gogh

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If you roll this painting up into a cone and hold it to your ear, you can hear an old waiter reciting the restaurant’s coordinates.


5. The Tower Of Babel by Pieter Bruegel

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This widely celebrated work is a painting done from imagination. Bruegel once declared, “I will paint the tower,” a boast that drew doubts from critics and intellectuals. One such critic wrote, “There isn’t a tower to paint!” to which Bruegel famously responded, “I will pretend there is.” The rest is history.


6. The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn

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This painting is quite famous due to its being the inspiration for boats.