What is a masterpiece?
The history of art is full of "masterpieces", those creations that are now considered cultural icons. But what is a masterpiece? And why are some works more famous than others? Well, sometimes it's linked to the artist, the historical context, the technical innovation, a scandal or a shroud of mystery... If you want to dive into the history of some masterpieces, you’re in the right place!

Discover what factors helped Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” become the world’s most famous painting.

More than 500 years after its creation, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is arguably the world’s most famous painting. Many scholars consider it an outstanding work of Renaissance art— but history is full of great paintings. So, how did this particular portrait skyrocket to unprecedented fame? Noah Charney explores the factors that helped create a worldwide sensation.

Content produced by: TED Ed

On the agenda
video - 5:37
Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?
By: Ted Ed
video - 12:03
Masterpieces of the Uffizi: Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Perugino
video - 6:30
How American Gothic became an icon
By: Vox Media
video - 2:07
Picasso, a man of influence
By: Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais
video - 12:55
Contemporary art in 5 masterpieces
By: Centre Pompidou
video - 13:59
The Definition of Art
By: The Art Assignment
video - 5:31
Is there a difference between art and craft?
By: Ted Ed
video - 9:11
What makes an artwork iconic?
By: National Galleries of Scotland
video - 5:39
How the Mona Lisa became so overrated ?
By: Vox Media