Forever Art – Masterpieces Remade from Canvas to Flesh
Tattooing has been practiced for about 5000 years in many cultures and spread throughout the world for centuries. Symbolism and impact are different according to countries and cultures. Some admire this art by distance and others get it under their skin, choosing pieces of art whose beauty is already supposed to last forever. Here some of the most popular:
Starry Night, a piece created in June 1889 depicting the view outside Vincent van Gogh’s sanitarium room window. It is one of the most well-known images in modern culture and also one of the most replicated. It even inspired Don McLean’s song ‘Vincent’ (Starry, Starry Night).
Kanagawa-Oki Nami-Ura, known as “The Great Wave off Kanagawa“, is one of the famous prints by Hokusai published in the XIX. With the Japanese culture in fashion in the occidental world, this work has been reproduced from endless merchandising to tattoos all over the world.
For color lovers, Gustav Klimt’s gilded style turns into beautiful tattoos. “The Kiss”, created in 1908/9 is the highpoint of his Golden Period and one of the most tattooed pieces. The Tree of Life, a set of mosaics created in his Late Works period is also a popular choice.
Vitruvian Man, created in 1490 by da Vinci is a great example of the blend of art and science and is often called the Canon of Proportions. As a tattoo, it might be one of the less painful on the list. But da Vinci has also one of the most painful ones: acclaimed as “the best known, most visited, most written and sung about and the most parodied work of art in the world.” : La Gioconda (or Mona Lisa if you prefer).
From the Sistine Chapel ceiling to the human body in our days, The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo is an icon of humanity and has been reproduced in countless imitations. Its fame is only rivaled by Gioconda, but it works out better as a tattoo than da Vinci’s (maybe) lover.
The Scream, by Edvard Munsch, was once described as the Mona Lisa for our time: this agonized figure under a tumultuous orange sky is one of the strongest icons of modern art – hence why it has been the target of several high-profile art thefts.
Storm on the Sea of Galilee is Rembrandt’s only seascape created in 1633. It depicts the miracle of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee. It is impressive as a tattoo, and the fact that it was a masterpiece stolen in one of the greatest art heists of our time gives it a trace of romance under the skin.
And to finish with a touch of modern art, The Girl with a Red Balloon is one of the most famous works of Banksy – graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter of our days. This stencil style of a girl reaching for a red heart-shaped balloon turns out to be a simple yet beautiful tattoo.