What are your favourite two pieces of art and why?

If it’s feasible, do you own a picture or reproduction of it? Have you ever seen the original? 

miró - the lark’s wing

rodin - le penseur 

they speak for themselves tbh

i don’t have a copy of either (the rodin would just be silly). i have seen both the originals tho


Seurat - Bathers at Asnières' - and yes I do have a reproduction, and the original is in London so I visited it often before lockdowns  :(

2nd fave? Hard...probably Lichtenstein's Drowning Girl...and I've seen that at the MoMA in NYC, but I don't currently have a reproduction.

Post Impressionism and Pop Art...my two faves, though I do love neoclassicism to look at in person in the Louvre.



Starry night over the Rhone - VVG

not the prints - but original had me  in tears for some reason - it glows.

The big seascape my grandfather painted years ago.  No ideas where it went when granny downsized.

The tiny picture a friend painted of my house.

that is peak sails

i don’t think sails could pretend to be more sails in that moment than he achieved there

Off the top of my head probably Vermeer's Milkmaid, which I've seen once, and Millais' Mariana, which I've seen many times as it's in the Tate Britain - I love the Pre-Raphaelite room.

I've probably got thousands more that I would immediately think 'oh, wait, no, let me have another go' (for example I've just remembered Breughel paintings exist and Durer's piece of turf) but that's what immediately comes to mind. 

I live in a 1920s built house, so would love to fill it with Romantic era to pre WWI prints, but the Mrs won't entertain the idea, which makes me sad..

Soz but I like art that has personal resonance.  The stuff in museums is spectacular but I have no emotional attachment to it.

As for why, in both cases use of colour, how the subjects are doing nothing in particular - almost absent minded domestic activities. 

Mariana, for me, seems to be an echo of the Dutch baroque paintings and the Mariana story from Measure for Measure and Tennyson is so sad. I also like The Lady of Shallot by Waterhouse for the same reason. 

I wish I knew a lot more about art tbh. 

Vermeer is awesome, good choice Pinkus. You sound like you know a lot about art to me.

When I lived in New York I would go to the MoMA all the time, and to Guy's point the VVG paintings in person are amazing - the paint is so layered and 3D which doesn't come across in prints or images online.

Of course, I love my D&D 80s boob art as well...so its not all museum works for me!

Starry Night is in MoMa and Starry Night Over the Rhone is in D'orsay. 

They are astonishing in person. 

It's a bit sad the National Gallery doesn't have a better impressionist/post impressionist collection although I guess the Courthold has a load and, I think, the Ashmolean has a bunch of Pissarros amongst others.

My two favourites are the Bernini sculptures in the Villa Borghese. The Rape of Proserpina and Daphne and Apollo. 

I could marvel for days at how that marble has been brought to life. They are stunning. 

Lots to Google here. Probably should say mine:

1. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose - John Singer Sargent. I love the light in it. It was mentioned in one of my favourite childhood books (The Family From One End Street) and I have a soft spot for his work anyway. I own a copy and have seen the original in Tate Britain

2. Not a specific work, but I love paintings of old ruins especially if they were painted hundreds of years ago because it makes me feel a sort of anemoia, which is funny and makes me very aware of my own insignificance and the transient nature of time. So i guess the art does its job!

some examples: 





When you walk into the Pre-Raphaelite room at the Tate Britain that Sargent painting immediately draws your eye. It's spectacular. 

What a brilliant thread. 

I'm mildly obsessed with the Austrian secession movement which reproduces brilliantly.  I have two posters.

For favourite, though, probably the apsidal mosaic of the Pantocrator at Cefalu.  Which clearly wouldn't reproduce at all, unless you happen to have a 100 ft apse in your house.  (I don't, although this board might be a good place to find someone who does.)

I agree with sails that context is really important in art.  I find it hard to enjoy a painting in a gallery much, even when I know and can see it's amazing.

Burial of count orgaz - el greco

And A. Nother.

Maybe a Brancusi or a de chirico








Tough call.  I will go for the ones that most moved me when seen live:

- battle of the milvian bridge by Giulio Romano

- cave paintings at font de gaumes (artist unknown, so we'll call him dave)

For exhibitions, I loved the raphael one about ten years ago (national gallery i think) and the hopper one at the tate modern (2004ish).

For sculpture I would have to say Michaelangelo's Pieta

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai


i don’t think art being in a museum means it lacks emotional resonance. They are certainly not mutually exclusive 

Own reproductions and seen them both. Flew to Chicago especially to see Nighthawks.

Meursault - I agree that the impression of Monreale as a whole is really quite spectacular.  And you might easily say the whole thing is a single work of art.  (I would.)  But the scope here seems to be single pictures and I would take Cefalu over anything.


Right now off top of head, these two. I have seen them both in the flesh - the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican was acers.




^I don't have prints. Wouldn't really work as they are both v textural.

 What is it about them that you like, Fosco? I’m interested as to what speaks to people in their favourite pieces. 

Did you hear the In Our Time on R4 about basquiat recently?  Quite good.

I will say that the Van Gogh museum on mushrooms was amazing. I was basically crying at how good it was.

We had a Basquiat exhibition in the Dutch town where I live last year. It was ace but really confused my neighbour.

Generally I prefer contemporary art for my flat. Old stuff would just look out of place.

Just found out that the style of art I refer to in my second point is called “capriccio” and is a whole genre...! 

Dusty - the Basquiat I like because of its tremendous energy. It demands to be looked at! It dominates the room. As you stare at the mess, though, you see marks and colours that weren't obvious at first, when you were busy being punched in the face by it. So it intrigues, too. I have quite a similar/derivative piece by a Sri Lankan artist called Vajira Gunawardena, which I catch myself staring at for minutes on end. This is another by him, not the one I own though (https://www.instagram.com/p/Bqb12CJBC6k/).

The Auerbach, I could have picked any of his paintings really. I like his portraiture, too. It achieves those classic abstract things of appearing chaotic or messy, before resolving into objects, a perspective, a very distinct scene. It isn't actually a mess. In fact it is highly structured and composed. I am drawn to the earthy colours he uses, and the trademark angular, structured, confident mark making. Ultimately with this one I just find it very pleasing to look at.

Thanks. I think the Basquiat is fascinating but I find it almost stressful in its composition? Does that make sense? That said, I can understand the intrigue aspect. The mouth looks to me like a miniature room? Weird but that’s what I see? I don’t know much about his work so may google. Thanks!

Will also look at Auerbach’s work. I find colours affect my emotional response to art so I wouldn’t have initially spent much time staring at this one. It looks like someone coming into an attic space that needs clearing(!) to me! Weird brain. 

Konchalovsky portrait of Meyerhold

and a sculpture that was in the Glasgow Museum of Art in the 1990s: a telephone booth/cubicle/thing, you went in, spun a roulette wheel and it told you what country you would be born in  if you were born that minute. Shifted my perspective permanently. I have a life that is quite like the top picture but the roulette wheel would have had  me born in Bangladesh. 


Vermeer a good shout, also some of my favourite paintings, although I was oddly disappointed when I learned he used that machine thingy.

That Basquiet exhibition at the Barbican was brillers. So much unfettered creative energy just bursting forth. 

I thought it was interesting he was taken under the wing of Warhol whose work, to me at least, has zero energy and leaves me completely cold. 


I like that Ronald. 


Yeah the Basquiat is certainly stressful, Dusty. Probably one for the entrance hall in one's massive gaff, rather than the sitting room.

1. Lady tennis player scratching her bare arse.

2. Naked lady (pants on mind) lying on bonnet of Lamborghini.

My 2 favourites are probably The Starry Night by Van Gogh and The Beheading of St. John the Baptist by Caravaggio.  But those are both quite well-known and probably not as interesting for this thread, so I'll give some honourable mentions to my favourite lesser-known works:

- Glorieta VII, Aranjuez by Santiago Rusiñol.

I struggled to remember the name of the painting or the artist, and I could only find one picture of it online, but I saw it at an exhibition a few years ago and it completely captivated me.  I love how the trees in the background are the ones that are illuminated, because it draws you in to the painting and makes you want to explore the gardens in the distance.

- Waterloo Bridge by André Derain

Monet's paintings of Waterloo Bridge are a lot more famous, but I really love how Derain was able to take such intensely vivid colours and yet still somehow create a painting that looks semi-realistic.

- The Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino

This is hands down the best sculpture I've ever seen.  It genuinely looks like someone has just draped a transluscent veil over the statue.  You want to reach out and see if you can lift it up.

I love the Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hal in the Wallace Collection, because the subject is so charismatic and the Wallace Collection is beautiful and relatively undiscovered. Also Las Meninas by Velazquez in the Prado - beautiful painting with enigmatic characters (including the painter). 

That sculpture is amazing, but I bet Laz could do a better one if you decided he wanted to

The Lion Hunt  of Ashurbanipal, Assyrian palace reliefs from the North Palace of Nineveh.  Still thinking about 2nd choice

Crowley, you know my feelings on this!! Wonderful. Am a big fan of Pop Surrealism which utilises a lot of cartoon elements. I own a Martin Harris print for example. https://www.martinharrisart.com/

I do indeed :) 

That Martin Harris is a bit good - I like that stuff.

It's interesting that cartoons are seen as not art, when something like Warhol is, when a good cartoon (and I include Calvin and Hobbes in this, obviously) contains significantly more meaning as well as a lot more skill and craft than anything he produced.

It’s definitely not considered as highly. But art that grabs you; that you visually enjoy; that makes you think, laugh, takes you out of yourself...that’s good art. 

You should look up Mark Ryden, Brad Parker, and Mab Graves (she’s on Etsy. There’s loads on there). 

The two pics I always go to look at at the National are the Fighting Temeraire (turner) and whistlejacket by stubbs. Both rely on size and brushwork so a reproduction wouldn't be worth the effort. Like Turner's Death Riding a Pale Horse too, but I'm not sure it's on display.

I think in terms of art in the house, I'd possible go for some O Winston Link pics.

As a connoisseur of art, I do have the Athena pic of a tennis player scratching her bum, obv.

Warren19 Jan 21 13:31

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The Lion Hunt  of Ashurbanipal, Assyrian palace reliefs from the North Palace of Nineveh.  Still thinking about 2nd choice


They found a chunk of that in the tuck shop of my (mate Dave's) school. Trufax.

The Prodigal Son by Soviet Realist Artist Geliy Korzhev

And the picture of a young girl in the National Gallery extension, Florentine circa 1300, the spitting image of a girl I used to go out with

Couldn't believe it when I saw it. Probably the first realistic painting ever

Warren, it was sat next to the dart board (literally) for years, until a visiting US professor in antiquities caught sight of it on a school tour.

Here's the bit:


I cant do links or images, but

Chagall’s portrait of Eleni Goulangris, commissioned by her adoring husband and a work of pure love and beauty.


Also strongly affected by Michelangelo’s La Pieta in St Peters

“on paper” these didnt move me but in the flesh, mind blowing.

minkie, you put me to shame. I should have remembered Chagall 

Chagall, his own birthday

and I also should have remembered the Pieta. The way I saw it in real life was having walked directly over from seeing the Sistine ceiling, realising for the first time that Michaelangelo was a big burly man who liked representing other big burly men, but that here he was working completely in service to the subject matter of a mother mourning a dead son. It totally merits its status.


Mr and Mrs Andrews by Gainsborough. Have a print of it above the bed 

then probably the painting nev’s dad did of jerusalem ( his father was a fairly accomplished artist) and I love the style of the painting and the colours. 

like many above loved the basquiat exhibition. Masculinities was the last we saw at Barbican and a postcard of an Adi Nes photograph from the series Soldiers is on my desk. 

I was twelve when I went to the Vatican, we were in a tour group and I couldnt see among the crowds so ran on ahead, round a corner....screeched to a halt and burst into years at La Pieta.

it has been moved now to behind a grate or barrier.

Has anyone else seen the Guernica in Madrid?

so shocking. I would not decribe it as a favourite and would not have it in the house even in minature, but it cerianly elicited the required revulsion.

For postcards - vemeer, as mentioned above, J B Yates, and that lovely one the Skating Minister.

yes to guernica 

pretty horrible room that generally

tarquin do you mean this portrait of st catherine of alexandria 


Pinkus, if you like the Pre-Raphaelites take a trip to the Guildhall art gallery (when poss, etc).  It's free and they have a good collection. 

Good thing some people have suggested sculptures they like then, Chambers. 

No, Sergio, but very similar 

She was small  around 18, and I believe the wife of a nobleman

Keep meaning to get a print

One of my favourite pieces of art is a tensegrity structure by Kenneth Snelson called Double Star.

I'll try to find a pic, but if you type that into google you'll probably find it.

It looks impossible, but isn't.

Not in my top two, but John Collier's Clytemnestra is amazing.  It is at the Guildhall Art Gallery in the City and well worth a visit.

Ooo apologies. I didn’t really look at the rest of the thread. 

I am bumping this because it’s a nice island amongst the endless covid threads. 

Does performance art count?

If so:

  • Dollahat
  • Poundcap

sorry, I mean Velazquez's portrait of Innocent X and then Francis Bacon's study based upon it

At first I read that as Heff writing "innocent, kiss"

Classic Heff

Not sure Kelly Brook's bangers can be considered art. Kim Kardashian's, sure. 

I really can't think of these things on the spot. But two works of art I recently found breathtaking, both in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens:

The Sounion Kouros - On a screen it isn't much but IRL the size of it and the beauty of the proportions are enough to make any man curious.

The Jockey of Artemision - had no idea such dynamic, lifelike, complex sculptures were around in 150BC

150BC, pshaw.

 What about this Warty Pig, drawn in 45,500BC by hominids who were not even necessarily homo sapiens? Warty Pig, Sulawesi

This is my favorite bit of art in my house, but I have no idea who its by - just on the off-chance, does anyone have any ideas?

Nah just a print.  I do like Red Ingrams tho, follow him on instagram and have thought seriously about buying one of his

Print or original?

Subject matter is very Cezanne

It's sideways btw...

yeah sorry, no idea why its sideways, I turned it right side up in the version on my computer 

Ok, so I have done what I should have done in the first place and a reverse image search reveals its by a UK guy called Paul Powis.  Better yet, his stuff is priced at a level I could actually potentially afford...  


Who’s your first one by, Jelly? I love early 20th century stuff like that...

There was an exhibition somewhere in London called... America After The Fall (?) A couple of years ago that had a load of Hopper stuff there (together with American Gothic). It was very good.