The Most Iconic Paintings of the 19th Century

Written by Emma Rhys

The 19th century is one of the most essential and iconic centuries in the entire history of recorded art. The century saw the most radical changes and new developments and, as a result, spawned several new movements never seen before.

Up until the modern art movement of the 19th century, art and painting had remained relatively the same, with only minimal changes occurring to painting styles for hundreds of years. However, by the 19th century, this all changed, and an explosion of new art arrived on the scene.

With the boundaries of artistic expression now wide open, artists were free to explore the limitless potential of their imagination and capture it on the canvas. As a result, the 19th century has some of the most innovative, original, and well-known paintings ever created. Here is a list of some of the most epic and iconic paintings that both defined the century and are represented in the most famous replica art gallery.

Liberty Leading The People by Eugene Delacroix

Many historians believe the 19th century to be a century of artistic revolution. However, as well as being a time of major changes in art, the 19th century was also a time of massive political and cultural upheaval. Many countries underwent violent revolutions during this time, with France being one of the most famous examples.

France, in particular Paris, was both an art and culture capital of the world at the time, so it is no surprise that several great artists of this period either came from France or spent time there. One such artist was Romanticism painter Eugene Delacroix.

Romanticism was one of the earliest 19th-century movements, and Delacroix was one of the movement’s most iconic painters. His work Liberty Leading The People is one of the most important paintings ever made. It tells an epic tale of the French revolution and is a symbol of the revolution that would take place in the world of art over the century.

Impression Sunrise by Claude Monet

Oscar-Claude Monet is arguably the most famous and iconic painter of the entire 19th century. His incredible paintings and artwork are credited with the foundation of all other modern art movements.

Quite high praise indeed. For Monet, though, he was uninterested in such accolades and praise and simply painted out of the sheer love of it. His love for life, art, and nature is visible within his work, and although he wasn’t one of the first painters to start painting outdoors instead of in a studio, he was undoubtedly one of the best.

Impression Sunrise is one of Monet’s most iconic and well-known pieces. The painting launched Impressionism into the mainstream and even gave the movement its name. Its dreamlike composition and serene mood would be the benchmark for all modern artists to aspire to.

Café Terrace At Night by Vincent Van Gogh

You can’t have a list of the most iconic 19th-century paintings without mentioning the great Vincent Van Gogh. The Dutch master’s artwork has become some of the most iconic art of all time, and there isn’t a person alive who is unfamiliar with Van Gogh’s paintings.

Van Gogh is the perfect example of a modern painter in many ways. For starters, he painted hundreds of paintings during his short career, whereas classical painters sometimes only had a handful of paintings in their entire collection. He is also wholly unique, and his paintings are like nothing else in art, making them so iconic and original.

Café Terrace At Night is undoubtedly one of Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings and summarizes what the modern movements of the 19th century were all about. The bright colors and abstract perspective are a bold farewell to old ways and a celebration of the new ways of thinking and painting that the 19th century is known for.

Bal Du Moulin De La Gallete by Pierre Auguste Renoir

Pierre Auguste Renoir’s artwork epitomizes the artistic views of the 19th century perfectly. Like Monet, Renoir is also credited with being one of the founders of the Impressionist movement. However, where Monet liked to focus on the beauty of nature, Renoir focused his attention on bustling urban environments.  

Many of Renoir’s paintings are filled with action and actors living their lives, contrasting with the peaceful and stoic scenery of other Impressionist painters. However, Renoir doesn’t just fill his paintings with life; he also makes the colors match the lively scenes.

Bal Du Moulin De La Gallete is one of Renoir’s most iconic paintings and exquisitely showcases his skill as a painter. The scene is alive with people eating, drinking, dancing, and having fun. The happy mood and symphony of color are the personification of the happiness and freedom felt by the artists of the 19th century.

A Sunday Afternoon by George Seurat

George Seurat is yet another one of the most highly innovative and influential painters of the 19th century. His unique views on color and almost scientific approach to painting significantly contributed to painting practices in the late 19th century and going forward into the 20th.

Seurat invented the painting style of Pointillism, where hundreds of different colored tiny dots are used to produce an increased sense of color and emotion in a painting. This calculated painting approach changed how artists viewed their work and even influenced technology as inventions such as the computer monitor used Seurat’s color method.

A Sunday Afternoon is the prime example of Seurat’s artistic philosophies in action. Its Pointillist style, Impressionist composition, and underlying social commentary are exemplary embodiments of the modern art movements of the 19th century stood for.


So, there you have it. Five of the most iconic paintings from the 19th century. These paintings exemplify the newfound ideals held by painters during this period, and their sphere of influence successfully revolutionized the world of art forever.

About the author

Emma Rhys

Leave a Comment