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There have been many amazing paintings that have become famous over the years. You can probably think of dozens of iconic paintings that deserve to be mentioned among the best works of art of all-time. Some paintings have stood above others because they managed to have a huge impact on the world, though. Read on to learn about some paintings that have affected the world in various ways. 

“The Problem We All Live With” Painted by Normal Rockwell in 1964

Norman Rockwell made a truly iconic painting in 1964 that depicted a young black girl named Ruby Bridges walking to an all-white school with security protecting her. This is a painting that depicts a real life event that happened during the fight for civil rights in America. Today, it acts as a stark reminder that it wasn’t so long ago that black people didn’t have anything close to resembling equal rights in America. This painting changed the world by forcing people to look at the ugly truth of racism. 

“Olympia” by Edouard Manet in 1863

Traditionally, paintings of women used to involve having the gaze of the women recline away from the viewer. This was especially the case when someone was painting a nude piece, but Manet broke the mold with Olympia in 1863. This is a bold piece where the woman in the painting gazes straight forward with a stern look on her face. It wound up being hugely influential and changed the way that people thought about nude paintings moving forward. 

“Studies of the Fetus in the Womb” by Leonardo da Vinci in 1510

This painting is not the most famous painting that Leonardo da Vinci painted, but it might be the most impactful. This is a study of the human body that involves Leonardo painting what he saw by dissecting human bodies. This was an illegal practice during Leonardo’s time for non-physicians, but his work went on to be very influential to both scientists and artists. In many ways, this painting changed the world by giving people a more accurate idea of what a fetus looks like in a woman’s womb. 

“The Death of Marat” by Jacques Louis David in 1793

The Death of Marat is one of the greatest examples of a painting that had a huge political impact. David painted his friend Jean-Paul Marat who had been assassinated in his bathtub. This was a very realistic painting that would be used as political propaganda. Marat was a revolutionary leader in France, and he was stabbed to death because of it, but this painting allowed Marat to continue to make an impact long after his death.