Since a picture speaks a thousand words, art is frequently intended to be “read” through critical deconstruction, much like texts. Iconography, the symbolic language used in a particular work of art, may sometimes be intricate and complicated. Still, a viewer can understand the message being communicated with a little more concentration.

Novels are made of the narrative that works of art tell about themselves or others. For example, the artwork by Johannes Vermeer served as the basis for Tracy Chevalier’s book “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” Later, a movie based on the novel was produced, starring Scarlett Johansson.

Below is a look at some of the most famous paintings of people with unique stories behind them:

Boreas 1903 by John William Waterhouse

English painter John William Waterhouse, a significant figure on the periphery of the prestigious Pre-Raphaelite movement, painted Boreas in 1903 using oil on canvas. 

This is one of the most renowned paintings of people showing a little girl being blown about by the wind as her slate and blue curtains are being thrown about. A springtime scene with pink blooms and yellow daffodils is depicted in the picture. The captivating picture has the name of the Greek deity of the north wind, Boreas. 

Boreas was misplaced for over 90 years and resurfaced in the 1990s when it was sold. Boreas is an example of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, a group of English artists popularized in the Victorian period.

Two Sisters Aka on the Terrace by Pierre Auguste Renoir

Renoir created the oil on canvas piece Two Sisters on the Terrace in April 1881. In the Parisian town of Chateau on the banks of the Seine, Renoir painted this painting with people on the upper terrace of Restaurant Fournaise. Renoir painted Luncheon of the Boating Party there, among many of his other paintings, as he was a frequent visitor.

Despite the title, there is no connection between the painting’s two subjects. Both sisters are dressed nicely, with the older sister donning a bright red bonnet with a flower to brighten up a dark blue flannel outfit. She has a tranquil smile on her face, and the artist has expertly portrayed it as well as her perfect, young skin. 

The kid stays close to her sister and directs her innocent gaze straight at the artist as though in need of her comfort. She is holding their basket in both hands.

Caspar David Friedrich’s The Wanderer Above the Mists

A guy in a dark green cloak and boots peers out over a foggy scene in Caspar David Friedrich’s famous Wanderer over the Sea of Fog, steadying himself with a cane. The person stands in the middle of a group of far-off, convergent planes while mounted on a dark, craggy rock face.

The picture has evolved into a symbol of culture during the last two centuries.

Franz Schubert’s Winter Journey cycle, a piece of classical music that conjures up an ominous, nomadic protagonist, has been used to portray it. The Enlightenment ideas (logic, reason, and order) that helped fuel the brutal, monarch-overthrowing French Revolution of 1789 were opposed by the aesthetic from its inception. Writers, painters, and musicians flocked to passion, fantasy, and the sublime for inspiration throughout Europe.

Nature, which was untamed, unrestrained, and far more potent than 19th-century Europeans, became a hot topic. In addition, the era elevated people in particular and their intense emotions. Friedrich represented all these attributes by putting a single man in the center of his painting and having him look out over a vast and uncharted landscape.

Also, Read: Everything You Need to Know About Canvas Prints

The Return of the Prodigal Son c. 1669 by Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt’s place as one of the greatest artists of all time and the best of all the Old Masters in portraying biblical situations is again confirmed by this work of biblical art. This painting, which Rembrandt finished in his final years, depicts a scene from the parable as told in Luke 15:11–32. In addition, this famous art of people by Rembrandt contains his parting words. 

This passage gives an extraordinarily melancholy interpretation of the Christian concept of mercy as if he were giving the world a spiritual testament. In evoking a sacred mood and human sympathy, it surpasses the creations of all other Baroque painters. Yet, older artists have a strong sense of reality because of their greater spiritual awareness and psychological understanding. 

We can better experience the full effect of the event because of expressive lighting, vivid color, and the artist’s suggestiveness of his method combined with a carefully chosen simplicity of location.

Claudio Monet’s the Walk Woman with a Parasol

After the 1860s, Monet stopped painting figures to focus on landscapes, but in the 1880s, he returned to it. Many justifications have been offered for this choice, but they all appear to revolve around Monet’s desire to utilize a model to pose for a beach scene with nude bathers. Monet continued to paint figures as he had always wanted to but decided to focus on dressed members of his vast extended family.

This famous people’s painting was done outside in a single, lengthy session. The artist employed position and location to indicate that his wife and son stopped their stroll. At the same time, he shot their likenesses, intending to create a casual family trip rather than a professional picture.


It’s fascinating to observe how many painters portray the feelings and narratives behind their paintings using their distinctive interpretations. This is because there are so many different aspects of art that go into the making of a painting. 

The painter of the artwork most likely came up with the actual plot for the picture. The only thing the artist is aware of is that the painting’s hues, themes, and feelings have inspired them. A viewer is then allowed to discover the painting’s narrative and is then able to pinpoint its specific details.