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The Real Settings of the World’s Most Famous Paintings

Por: Beatriz Esquivel9 de enero de 2023

Do you recognize any of these places? Surely, you saw them first in one of these works of art.

Almost all works of art usually have a real-life reference, be it a still life, a landscape, or a portrait. While some settings are hard to find, the truth is that the landscapes or backgrounds of some of the most important paintings in the history of art are still standing.

Just as some people spend their time searching for the sites of historic photographs, many others do the same with the locations featured in many paintings, such as the following:

Café Terrace at Night (1888)

By: Vincent van Gogh

Where: Le Café La Nuit, Paris

Located on the Place du Forum in Arles, France, the cafe once called Café Terrace is now named after the painting in honor of the painter’s work. Despite the time, in the place, you can still appreciate its characteristic yellow awning, as well as the tables on the sidewalk. Although, if anything differs from the painting is how the place has become crowded with other locals and cafes.

American Gothic (1930)

By: Grant Wood

Where: Dibble House in Eldon, Iowa

This painting has been truly iconic thanks to the two main characters, as well as the distinctive house in the background, which Wood would encounter in his travels across the United States. The work would become one of the most recognized works of American art, while the Dibble house would become a tourist attraction where people come to take a picture similar to the composition of the painting.

Still Life with Plaster Cupid (1894)

By: Paul Cézanne

Where: Atelier Cézanne, in Aix-en-Provence, France

A farm converted into a studio was the space Cézanne used during his creation. Located in the same region where he was born and raised, the studio of the impressionist artist has remained open to the public, and the objects the painter used are kept in place, so it is easy to recognize the small statue he used as a model for his still life.

The Scream (1983)

By: Edvard Munch

Where: Valhallveien Street, Oslo, Norway / Ekeberg Sculpture Park

Valhallveien Road, just before the street makes a u-turn, is often considered the spot Munch used to paint what to this day is his most famous work and still stands out for its depiction of modern man’s anguish. However, a few meters away, in the Ekeberg Sculpture Park, a new viewpoint has been inaugurated that also resembles Munch’s panorama.

Water Lilies and the French Bridge (1897-1899)

By: Claude Monet

Where: Giverny Garden, France

Monet and many of the expressionists are no strangers to this type of painting, in which they devoted themselves to painting water lilies, or to portraying other landscapes so often that it could be called an obsession. The series of water lilies reach 250 pieces, all inspired by the garden of his estate in Giverny, France.

What other scenarios do you recognize?

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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