Editorial Feature

5 Painted Masterpieces You Can See in Real Life

Explore the places where art came to life

Have you ever wondered what beautiful image inspired your favorite piece of artwork? Or about the accuracy of an artist's brushstrokes when they painted something from life?

Wonder no more: we've picked 5 artworks whose subjects you can see in the real world. How well do you think these artists did?

The Bucintoro at the Molo on Ascension Day, by Canaletto, 1760

Canaletto painted this scene of Ascension Day, a historical celebration in Venice where, as part of the the symbolic "Marriage of the Sea" ceremony, the Venetian vessel of state known as the Bucintoro would head to the Adriatic and cast a gold ring into the water. The buildings in the background are the Doge's Palace, which you can explore on Street View in modern day.

The Bucintoro at the Molo on Ascension Day, by Canaletto, 1760 (From the collection of Dulwich Picture Gallery)

Mont Sainte-Victoire, by Paul Cézanne, 1902-1906

Between 1902 and 1906, Cézanne painted a series of oil paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire, a mountain that overlooked Aix-en-Provence, where he lived. This painting is a quasi-abstract rendering of the vista, with form and space portrayed through the juxtaposition of small, colored patches of paint - a style that would become influential in the development of Cubism.

Mont Sainte-Victoire, by Paul Cézanne, 1902-1906 (From the collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)

The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise, View from the Chevet, by Vincent van Gogh, 1890

Vincent Van Gogh settled in Auvers-sur-Oise, a village in the outskirts of Paris after spending time at the psychiatric hospital in Saint-Rémy de Provence. Here he painted the town's 13th-century church in an Expressionist style. It is one of 80 paintings that Van Gogh created in the last two months of his life.

The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise, View from the Chevet, by Vincent van Gogh, 1890 (From the collection of Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

Dent de Lion, Margate, by J. M. W. Turnerca, 1791

Dent de Lion gatehouse in Margate was painted by Turner in 1791. In present day, the gatehouse remains, but the wooden housing with thatched roofing that surrounded it has now been replaced with a more modern version. You can still make out the alternating horizontal bands of knapped flint and red and yellow brick on Street View.

Dent de Lion, Margate, by J. M. W. Turnerca, 1791(From the collection of Yale Center for British Art)

The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light, by
Claude Monet, 1894

Monet was famous for the way he would capture a single subject at various times of day to explore the way the light, color, and form transformed with the changing sun. This painting is from a series of Rouen Cathedral, which he painted in late winter in both 1892 and 1893, positioned in an improvised studio in the front room of a dressmaker's shop across the way.

The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light, by Claude Monet, 1894 (From the collection of The J. Paul Getty Museum)
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