June 26, 2022 4 min read
It's every decor lover's dream to own an original work by a famous artist like Picasso or Monet. After all, such masterpieces are beautiful and evocative -- perfect for a stylish, artful home. But while not all of us have the $$$ to acquire an original, the good news is that many timeless art pieces are actually in public domain today!
What this means is that these pieces have been released from their copyrights, and everyone is now free to reproduce, download, print, or remix them. If you want to fill your home with artworks, now is the time to get prints of these masterpieces!
Let's start this list with one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. "Starry Night" showcases the Dutch master's brilliant blues and yellows, but what's more remarkable is that Van Gogh painted this during his stay in an asylum. These days, "Starry Night" inspires everything from pop culture to fashion to interior decor, not just for its unique visual appeal but also for its symbolism of childlike wonder in dreary times.
P.S. Van Gogh's other works, such as "Sunflowers" in our lead photo above, are also in public domain.
A prolific landscape Impressionist, Monet actually painted some 250 pieces in his Water Lilies series. Every one of them is now in public domain, so we get to enjoy the gentle pastel sceneries mostly modeled from the artist's own estate in Giverny, France. These pieces would look good as a solo framed picture, or as a group of prints in a gallery wall in your home.
Vermeer might be most famous for his painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (also in public domain), but "The Milkmaid" is an equally fine work of his. Depicting a kitchen maid doing such a simple task as pouring milk, this masterpiece spotlights the beauty of quiet moments in everyday life. Vermeer's soft, luminous technique in painting light only makes this moment even more exquisite.
The name Degas is almost synonymous to ballet paintings, and "The Dance Class" is one of his signature pieces. It has two versions: one in which the ballerina in the foreground faces us, and another where the ballerina has her back to us. Both are equally pretty in their depiction of a "behind-the-scenes" in a classical dance studio.
This iconic image has inspired other paintings, photographs, and even movie scenes in modern times. The original artwork is not just a painting but a multimedia composition that incorporates actual gold leaf. Even though we can't reproduce the gold material for ourselves, just the visual look of this piece is radiant enough -- perfect as a focal point on your wall.
"Guitar" is not a painting but a three-dimensional "assemblage" by Cubist master Pablo Picasso. In 1912, he created a 'draft' of this piece by putting together cardboard sheets to create the guitar image. Then, in 1914, he made a new version using sheet metal. Though it's tough to recreate this one-of-a-kind work of art, Cubism fans can now freely hang a photograph of it on their walls.
Mucha is one of the most well-known names in Art Nouveau, and his art style is also instantly recognizable, with graceful women as subjects, surrounded by swirls and flowers. "Reverie" is a clear example of this style. The artwork was originally published as a company calendar, but gained so much popularity as a decorative panel. Today, it can add glam and grace to any home!
Textiles can be art, too! In fact, they were the primary medium of acclaimed 19th century designer William Morris. "Strawberry Thief" is one of his most popular patterns, featuring thrushes that he found stealing his garden fruits. How charming is that? Even now, over a century later, Morris' designs are still a top choice as framed artworks or wallpapers.
Edward Hopper is known for his sparse, quiet depictions of American urban life. "Nighthawks" is his best-known painting, portraying a nighttime diner with few customers at a lonely street. It's a cinematic picture that has inspired dozens of movie scenes and artistic allusions. Hang it on your wall for a touch of neo-noir and mystery, or just to give you that feeling of late-night outings in a city that's asleep.
This unique depiction of the Nativity Scene captures the exhaustion of Mary and the respectful adoration of Joseph and the three shepherds. The barn around them is crude and unpolished, showing the humble setting of Christ's birth. This is true to Caravaggio's style of "brutal realism," and the stark lighting in this painting is also a signature of his. Christians and non-Christians alike can appreciate the symbolism and mastery in this piece.
Which of these masterpieces is your favorite? Don't worry if you can't pick just one -- all of them are freely accessible!
When you're hanging an artwork on your wall, don't skip our blog post on the five rules for hanging wall art.
And if you're still on the hunt for wall decor pieces to fill your home with, browse the highly-rated collections at GearDen.com!
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