The Top 5 Biggest Paintings of All Time

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If you thought that Rembrandt’s famous canvas “The Night Watch” or Sam Francis’s “Basel Mural I” were some pretty big paintings, then you are actually pretty well informed when it comes to the arts. Kudos to you. But guess what? Those masterpieces are more like also-rans in terms of sheer size. In fact, they’re not even in the running when it comes to sizing the truly biggest paintings ever! If you couldn’t care less about subtle chiaroscuro or masterful foreshortening, and only care how big the damn painting is, then this is your kind of art.

5 Really Huge, and REALLY Old

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The cave paintings found at Lascaux, France, are not only impressive based on the fact that they are some of the earliest known works of art ever wrought, dating from 20,000 years ago or more, but also because the paintings are really damn big. There are thousands of figures and symbols painted throughout the cave networks, with some individual images of bulls and various prey animals almost 20 feet long!

4 Huge Painting? Check. Tug at Heartstrings? Check.

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When Todd Spaur was in a terrible car accident more than 20 years ago, he faced the prospect of paralysis, and at best life in a wheelchair with barely any mobility. With an outpouring of support of all kinds from the tiny town of Bussy, IA, Spore managed to raise his kids (as a single dad, mind you) and gradually, after 16 years of effort, rehab his way back to walking and near complete independence. Not sure how else to express his gratitude, Spaur devoted the next years of his life to painting a massive mural, featuring dozens of the town’s residents.

3 Yes, it’s Very Big and Very Desert-Like

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The longest painting ever (on canvas, at least) measures more than 100 yards in length, and stands almost 40 feet high. It depicts a desert scene complete with more than a million bushes, thousands of trees and stones, distant hills and more. When walking past the hyper-realistic canvas, the viewer might even feel lost in the desert, except for the whole dying of thirst thing. The artist goes only by the name Ando, and we assume he is now taking it easy for a bit.

2 Every Square Foot is a Masterpiece

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To create a painted work that measures more than 130 feet by 45 feet is impressive enough on its own merits. To create that painting on a ceiling is even more impressive. To have that painting – or rather dozens of connected paintings – be a damned masterpiece, well, that could only have been done by Michelangelo. Of course we’re talking about his famous painting of the Sistine Chapel (and some of its walls), which ranks as one of the all-time pinnacles of artistic achievement.

1 Bigger is Not Always Better

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The official biggest painting in the world is really, really big. Like 86,000 square feet big. The paint used to create it weighed in at more than 100 tons. But weight is not really a factor, because artist David Aberg’s painting is so large it has to be laid out flat on the ground to be viewed, which can only be done properly from the air. Unfortunately, the painting itself, from a subject and composition standpoint, is pretty rough.

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