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11 Beautiful Locations from Famous Paintings You Can Visit in Real Life
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11 Beautiful Locations from Famous Paintings You Can Visit in Real Life

Picture of India Irving
Social Media Editor
Updated: 18 October 2017
Whether it’s a beloved natural landscape or a historical city centre, artists have used real-life locations to inspire their paintings throughout the centuries. Although the creative geniuses behind many of the world’s most famous and recognisable artworks departed this Earth long ago, their canvases are not the only legacy left behind for us to admire. These 11 iconic paintings all have locations you can still visit in person today.

Caspar David Friedrich, Chalk Cliffs on Rügen, c. 1818

A German Romantic landscape painter, Friedrich is said to have modelled this painting after a post-honeymoon trip he took with his wife and brother to Rügen, Germany’s largest island by area. Located in the Jasmund National Park, these wondrous cliffs can still be visited today and look like they are just as incredible.

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1916

French impressionist Claude Monet is perhaps most known for his paintings of the Japanese water lily pond in the garden of his home at Giverny, France. Luckily for art lovers, Monet’s house and garden are now a museum which is open to visitors throughout the year.

The water lily pond at Giverny | © Dr Avishai Teicher / WikiCommons
The water lily pond at Giverny | Avi1111 Dr. Avishai Teicher / WikiCommons

Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World, 1948

American painter, Andrew Wyeth, painted this now iconic work of Anna Christina Olson outside her home in Cushing, Maine, which is open to visitors to this day. It is believed she suffered from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, making it difficult for her to walk. The touching work depicts Christina crawling in the fields near the house.

#christinasworld #andrewwyeth

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Olson House, Maine | © lcm1863 / WikiCommons
Olson House, Maine | © lcm1863 / WikiCommons

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884

Study for 'A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte' | © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / WikiCommons
Study for A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte | © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / WikiCommons
La Grande Jatte in 2011 | © Tos / WikiCommons
La Grande Jatte in 2011 | © Tos / WikiCommons

One of the best examples of pointillist painting technique, this painting by Seurat is not only inspired by a real place, but in turn inspired the Stephen Sondheim musical, Sunday in the Park with George. The scene takes place on the island of La Grande Jatte on the River Seine.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge, 1892–93

Moulin Rouge Paris | © Dan Kamminga / WikiCommons
Moulin Rouge Paris | © Dan Kamminga / WikiCommons

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s images of Paris’s most infamous nightclub, the Moulin Rouge, are some of art history’s most recognisable paintings. Not only are they evocative and technically astounding, but the scenes they depict are full of life. Thankfully, you can recreate the fun happening in the paintings at the actual Moulin Rouge today. Can you do the can-can?

David Hockney, The Pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 1988

Morning reflections 😎

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Did you know that celebrated British contemporary artist David Hockney, the only artist on this list who is still living, painted the bottom of the pool at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel? Known as the “Hockney Pool,” legend has it that the artist made his way down to the empty pool one morning and painted it in just four hours. Now part of LA history and art history, this is one painting you both can look at and swim over.

Henri Matisse, Seated Woman, Back Turned to Open Window, 1922

The beautiful Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, runs along the Mediterranean coast and is present in many of Henri Matisse’s paintings. Seated Woman, Back Turned to Open Window, depicts a view over this iconic street, which can still be visited today.

Promenade des Anglais, Nice | © Ernmuhl / WikiCommons
Promenade des Anglais, Nice | © Ernmuhl / WikiCommons

Marc Chagall, Opéra Garnier Ceiling, 1964

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Russian artist, Marc Chagall, painted the breathtaking ceiling canvas of Paris’s Opéra Garnier back in the 1960s and you can marvel at all 2,600 square-feet of it to this day. It took him eight months to complete the work and it is now an integral part of the historical building.

Giovanni Paolo Paninni – View of the Colosseum, 1747

Baroque painter, Giovanni Paolo Panini’s Colosseum definitely depicts less people than you would find at this Roman landmark these days, but nonetheless it’s still standing and you can absolutely go there.

'View of the Colosseum' | Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum / WikiCommons
View of the Colosseum | via WikiCommons
The exterior of the Colosseum | via WikiCommons
The exterior of the Colosseum | © Foeke Noppert WikiCommons

Camille Pissarro, Hyde Park, London, 1890

It appears that Hyde Park has always been beautiful. You can admire it in impressionist painter Camille Pissarro’s work and in person, although I’m not sure the light ever looks quite this good in reality.

Camille Pissarro, 'Hype Park' | WikiCommons
Camille Pissarro, Hyde Park | via WikiCommons

Edouard Manet, The Grand Canal of Venice (Blue Venice), 1875

Impressionist Edouard Manet’s Grand Canal is most definitely bluer than the water is today, but you can still float down it in a gondola and observe the architectural beauty around you.

Edouard Manet's 'The Grand Canal of Venice' | WikiCommons
Edouard Manet’s The Grand Canal of Venice | via WikiCommons
Grand Canal, Venice | © Saffron Blaze / WikiCommons
Grand Canal, Venice | © Saffron Blaze / WikiCommons