I truly believe that those days when you were only cool if your tattoos represent something extremely deep and meaningful have definitely passed. Moreover, I think that was just an idea TV shows like Miami Ink put into our heads as an excuse for them to bring heartfelt stories and make them more full of content, and for us normal people to feel better about getting a tattoo. This doesn’t mean that meaningful tattoos are bad, I have some that mean so much to me and I don’t care if they’re not as visually appealing, but I mention this because I’ve heard from many people that they really want to get a pretty tattoo but are reluctant since they don’t represent anything meaningful in their lives.
That for me, pardon my French, is BS. There are tons of tattoos that are amazingly artistic and beautiful that are great just because of their visual appeal. I’ve found a set of designs inspired by some of the most important artists in history whose works held all the meaning you could ask for. Plus, they have the visual appeal we all want.
Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1901) / Water Serpent I (1904) / The Tree of Life (1905)
What many modern artists had is that each developed a unique and notable style that even non-art lovers can recognize. Perhaps what characterizes Klimt the most is his use of gold, vibrant colors, and unique ornamentations. This is a perfect combo if you want your tattoo to stand out, and luckily he has many paintings you can choose from that best matches your personal taste.
Guernica (1937) / The Dream (1932) / War and Peace (1952)
Well, it’s kind of obvious that Picasso is one of the most famous painters of all times not only because of his innovative cubist style, but also for the themes, colors, and textures he introduced into modern painting. He has the record as the most prolific painter in history, giving you a really extensive (about 13,500 paintings) catalog for you to choose.
Madonna (1894-5) / Love and Pain (1893-5) / The Scream (1893)
This Norwegian artist is best known for his masterpiece The Scream, which basically everybody in the world knows, but he managed to make his name in art history due to his dark and melancholic works that more than often represent the tragic life he had. If you want something that represents an emotional moment in your life you can go for one of the many works he has inspired by universal emotions like Despair, Melancholy, Jealousy, Anxiety, etc.
Vincent Van Gogh
The Sunflowers (1887) / Starry Night (1889) / Café Terrace at Night (1888)
Who doesn’t know who Van Gogh was or at least the emblematic story of his ear? He left 1,100 works that were never acknowledged as they deserved. Still, he’s the most important post-impressionist painter and his unique use of color and textures are recognized all over the globe.
The Persistence of Memory (1931) / Elephants (1948) / Figure with Drawers for a Four-part Screen (1934) / Woman With Head of Roses (1935)
Dalí was a self-interested vain man who lead his life on his own convenience, but we can’t deny his talent and how his works are also a milestone in modern art history. Perhaps of them all, Dalí’s work could be one of the most interesting to have inked on the skin due to the sinuosity of his shapes and the colors of his work.
Water Lilies (1920-6) / Girls in a Boat (1887) / Woman with a Parasol (1875)
If you’re going for a design that eases your soul, you should really go for any of Monet’s paintings, known for their beautiful and serene use of colors. His most famous works are his Water Lilies series that reflect majestic and magical landscapes that when transferred from the canvas to the skin, look absolutely gorgeous.
Leonardo Da Vinci
Lady with an Ermine (1489-90) / La Gioconda (1503-6) / Vitruvian Man (1490)
As you have seen all the artists I included were key characters in the development of modern art and the reason is that I believe their art can be more adaptable and showy in a tattoo rather than other classics. However, we can’t talk about art without the master genius of all times, Leonardo Da Vinci. I literally included three of his most famous works (I mean, La Gioconda is actually considered the most famous work of art in history) because I think they really represent the geniality of this artist.
Self-Portrait with Peacock Waistcoat (1911) / Standing Girl (1910) / Self Portrait (1914)
This one is for those bold souls who love unique and risky designs. I’ve always considered Schiele to be one of the most audacious and daring artists of all. Not only did he challenge the rules of artistic nudity with explicit and kind of unsettling body positions, he also presented a new perspective on beauty through his distorted and sometimes grotesque characters.
I believe art is one of our richest heritage and legacy and for that reason, there isn’t a reason not to honor it in every way possible. This is definitely a new golden age for tattoo art, and blending what we tend to consider elite and refined art with this discipline, is actually something I’m really excited about. Besides that, nowadays there are impressive artists capable of transferring any work of art into the skin in a masterful way. So, which one best represents your artistic soul?
Here are other tattoo ideas you might like:
21 Designs That’ll Prove Wrong Anyone Who Thinks Tattoos Can’t Be Classy
Tell Me What Plant You Like And I’ll Give You The Tattoo That Best Matches You
9 Tattoos To Always Remember Where You Came From
Composition VIII – Wassily Kandinsky (1923)
The Kiss – Gustav Klimt (1907-1908)
The Lovers II – René Magritte (1928)