The 5 Most Famous Poems in the History of Literature

When it comes to poetry and choosing the most famous poems in the history of literature, we might face the impossible task of bringing to an agreement thousands of critics and literature historians, together with millions of pages dedicated to the subject. However, listing the most famous poems as deemed by some of the most enlightened minds of the Society of Classical Poets after comparing them to the popularity rankings offered by the public, is not such a difficult endeavor. After a careful selection, thus, we were able to highlight five most famous poems in history. Keep in mind that we won’t categorize them into “short poems”, “love poems” or “English poems about life” sub-classes, but offer you a more general view on those poems we all should read, feel and live by.

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

A love poem at a first glance, Sonnet 18 is, in fact, a testament of the author’s views on life, death, decay and passing of the human spirit. The ethereal realm of poetry and beauty has never been so subtly, yet eloquently, analyzed as it has been in this true masterpiece. A firm believer that poetry itself can grant eternal life to a person because poetry itself is eternal, Shakespeare seems to have encompassed in this short poem the quintessence of love, splendor, and artistic expression.

2. If by Rudyard Kipling

While we mostly know Kipling for The Jungle Book, the writer was a master of poetry and If proves this beyond a doubt. One of the most powerful statements of what means to be a good, strong and beautiful human, If is a poem we all should live by and take to our hearts in our attempt of becoming better people. The poem’s message keeps its validity throughout all generations, being a beacon of light, hope and powerful teachings for all mankind.

3. A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

All Edgar Allan Poe poems and stories have double and triple meanings. They are masterpieces of layered imagery, messages, feelings, spirituality, and beauty. A Dream Within a Dream, among others, is perhaps the best example that the author was a genius of mixing the pure beauty of poetry with an intrinsic and sometimes baffling psychological and philosophical web of concepts and meanings.

4. On His Blindness by John Milton

Short, but extremely powerful to this day, On His Blindness deals with one’s limitations in life, being inspired by Milton’s personal story of losing his eyesight. What makes this poem, however, a wonder of literature is the underlying message that one can transcend personal shortcomings and misery through understanding the powers of the divine and embracing the order and mystery of the universe. While emphasizing on a disability, Milton’s poem is in fact about the human spirit finding purpose and hope despite all obstacles.

5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

If you remember the famous Dangerous Minds movie and the “Dylan – Dylan” competition, one might find interesting the fact that Bob Dylan was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. However, poetry experts and critics still believe that Dylan Thomas is probably one of the greatest poets that have ever lived and written, in all the world, in all the languages. As subjective as this opinion may be, one cannot deny that Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night is still one of the best, most haunting, most powerful and most meaningful of poems ever written. An elegy to his dying father, the poem stood the test of time and the numerous changes in cultural perspectives and tastes, being still considered a work of art. Using unusual words, like “spindrift” and creating complex emotions with the use of just words, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night still gives you shivers down your spine no matter your age or past life experiences.

What are your favorite most famous poems on this list or in the history of literature? Do you have others that speak to your heart?

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Famous Stolen Paintings That Were Never Found

Heists aren’t what they used to be. These days, the Mona Lisa is safely tucked behind a bulletproof glass shield, there are alarms and guards at every corner, and attempting a good old fashion art piece theft has never been more difficult. But, believe it or not, these are all the result of past heists that have been, unfortunately, successful. There are some famous stolen paintings taken from important art galleries, with no clue of their whereabouts decades later.

Criminality knows no discrimination, which is why the big blow was taken both by small artists and renowned painters of the likes of Rembrandt and Picasso. Join us as we line-up some of the most famous stolen paintings that have yet to be found.

#1 “The Lovers: The Poet’s Garden IV” by Vincent Van Gogh

Famous Stolen Paintings

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This work of art was described by the painter in a letter to his brother. Finished in 1888, it was easy to pinpoint Van Gogh’s pride in his creation and, apparently, he had good reason to. The Lovers: The Poet’s Garden IV caught the eye of Adolf Hitler decades later, who retrieved the painting with the intention to include it in his personal “World’s Greatest Art Gallery.” It would be filled with degenerate works of past painters. Despite many efforts, the painting was lost after World War II.

#2 “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt Van Rijn

This Rembrandt painting was only one of the thirteen pieces of art that were lost during the greatest heist in American history. Then, two thieves managed to trick the guards into allowing them inside Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by dressing up as police officers. After managing to handcuff them, the pair smuggled up some extremely valuable pieces, this one included.

#3 “Charing Cross Bridge, London” by Claude Monet

Famous Stolen Paintings

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On October 2012, the Kunsthal Museum was the victim of a theft that cost it the disappearance of a handful of important works of art. This particular Monet painting, part of a series that depict the Charing Cross Bridge in various moments of the day, was the most valuable loss. Although the convict was later caught and claimed that he burned the piece to hide his traces, there is no solid evidence to back the claim, which led to the painting still being considered missing.

#4 “Le Pigeon aux Petis Pois” by Pablo Picasso

The story of this Picasso work would be hilarious if it weren’t for the tragic undertones. It was stolen during the theft at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris then hurtled into a bin by the convict. The bin was emptied before authorities could get to it, so, assuming it’s not destroyed, Le Pigeon must be on quite the adventure.

#5 “The Just Judges” by Jan Van Eyck

Famous Stolen Paintings

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With a story worth of a movie, The Judges brewed a lot of speculations when it was suddenly stolen from its display on the Ghent altarpiece at Saint Bavon’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. In its place, authorities found a note left by the thief, which eventually led them to a negotiation for its retrieval. The painting was never returned, though, and the man who eventually stepped up as the convict did so on his deathbed, when he also revealed that he would take the location of the piece of art to his grave.

#6 “The Concert” by Johannes Vermeer

Another victim of the heist at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Concert is considered to be the most valuable unrecovered piece of art at the moment, with a price attached to it that goes just a bit beyond $200,000,000. The work of art was initially up for display at the Royal Collection in London before it was purchased by the famous philanthropist Isabella Stewart Gardner.

#7 “View Of The Sea At Scheveningen” by Vincent Van Gogh

Famous Stolen Paintings

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In 2002, two pulled a genuine cinematic move when they decided to infiltrate the Van Gogh Amsterdam Museum through the roof. They got in and decided to steal only two pieces – one of them was View of the Sea at Scheveningen. Their choice didn’t seem to be baseless, as the two paintings were created during the peaking period in Van Gogh’s career. The two works of art have an estimated value of $30 million.

#8 “Portrait of a Young Man” by Raphael

The last we’d seen of this High Renaissance classic, the painting was hanging on the walls of Hitler’s Berlin villa. After World War II, it was taken down by Nazi official Hans Frank, who supposedly intended to take the work of art to the royal Wawel Castle. The journey there was apparently unsuccessful since there haven’t been any traces of the painting since.

Top 10 Ancient Greek Artifacts

Ancient Greece was one of the civilizations that have left the biggest cultural impact on history. Whether we’re talking about their extensive mythology, the art forms, or the political innovations, there’s no denying the greatness of the Greeks. Fortunately, the physical evidence of their genius has resisted the trials of time and there are many incredible ancient Greek artifacts that are now exhibited on the shelves of many important museums around the world.

#1 Antikythera Mechanism

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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Perhaps the most fascinating of all the artifacts on this list, this mechanism is essentially an ancient analog computer, constructed by Greek scientists for calendric and astronomic purposes. It was discovered sometime around 1901 and, upon recent studies, it’s been unveiled that it was built in the 2nd century BC. The analog computer is located at the National Archeological Museum in Athens.

#2 Greek Sphinx

Surely you’re familiar with the famed Egyptian sphinx, but how much do you know about the Greek one? The statuettes were reflections of the opulence of the wealthy and their imagine consisted of the head of a woman, the body of a lion, the tail of a snake, and the wings of an eagle. The Greek sphinx originates from the civilization’s mythology, having been a fantastic creature sent by Hera to punish Thebes. It’s located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

#3 Parthenon Horse

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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Ancient Greece really valued its horses, as shown by the many works of art depicting them. One particularly well-executed display of this appreciation is the Parthenon friezes, which showcase a beautifully sculpted horse head.

#4 Head of Hygeia

 The mastery of Ancient Greek sculptors is properly displayed through this fantastic and skillfully crafted marble sculpture. It depicts Hygeia, the daughter of God of Medicine Asclepius and the soon-would-be Goddess of Health. It’s believed that it was crafted sometime in the 4th century, when Hygeia worshipping really started to take off. You can find the Head of Hygeia at the National Archeological Museum of Athens.

#5 Aphrodite of Melos (Venus of Milo)

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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One of the most famous works of art in history, the famed Venus of Milo sculpture received its name from the French, who retrieved the broken statue from a cavern on the island of Melos. Aphrodite was the Goddess of Love whose Roman equivalent was Venus. The statue can be admired at the Louvre Museum from Paris.

#6 Head of Zeus

The person whose image was sculpted was up for debate for a while, with its original name referring to the possibility of it being Poseidon. However, upon further archeological investigations, a consensus concluded that it was the figure of the almighty Greek deity.

#7 Hecate

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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The name was given to the Greek goddess trinity that was said to rule over Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld. She is heavily based off another deity, this time, an Egyptian one, going by the name Hekat. Most often, the trinity is said to have consisted of Hecate Selene, the Moon in Heaven, Persephone the Destroyer of the Underworld, and Artemis the Goddess of Hunting. The statuette can be admired at Metropolitan Museum of Art from New York.

#8 Bust of Apollo

Apollo was another important deity in Greek mythology. Son of Zeus and Leto, as well as a brother of the previously mentioned Artemis, Apollo’s most important contribution was his role as an oracle. At times, he would grant the gift of sightseeing to others as well, a worthy example being Cassandra from Troy.

#9 Pan Statue

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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Pan was essentially the underdog of the Greek deities, majorly because of his distorted appearance and his half-man, half-goat physical traits. Much like Dionysus, Pan was associated with hedonism of all kinds and, because of it, he was named Pan, a Greek word that means “all.”

#10 Head of Hermes

After the sculpture was discovered in 1926, it was taken to the National Museum of Athens. Archeologists have all agreed that the harmonic lines in the statue stand as testimony that it may have been the work of Praxiteles, one of the greatest sculptors of the 4th century BC.

Top Most Famous Paintings In The World

It’s said that the greatest people in history can be considered brilliant through their sheer capacity to be remembered even beyond their domain of activity. You don’t need to be a military expert or historian to know of the deeds of Napoleon Bonaparte or a well-versed classical music junkie to have heard of Beethoven or Mozart. You just do. In a sense, it’s like these personalities have been part of our knowledge since forever. Can anyone really remember the first time they’ve heard of Jules Verne?

This applies to painters as well. In their case, however, something else intervenes – their roles as creators. We all know the “one hit wonder” scenario. A musician, let’s say, releases a song that explodes overnight and becomes a major hit worldwide, but none of the pieces they release afterward manages to match this tremendous display of success. Does anyone, generally, know what happened to the people behind Macarena after they took the world by storm? And, sure, PSY might still be a familiar name today, but in generations to come, his name will likely fade into oblivion and Gangnam Style will undoubtedly be what humanity truly remembers.

Some painters, no matter their legacy, are often outshined by their creations. It may seem like everyone knows who Leonardo da Vinci is, but more than everyone knows about the Mona Lisa. And, with this said, let’s kick off the list which contains the most famous paintings in the world.

Most Famous Paintings

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The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

It’s hard to argue about this one, isn’t it? No other woman has been replicated, printed on mugs and other various souvenirs, or thoroughly analyzed like da Vinci’s Gioconda. The painting took roughly 15 years to complete, work for it having been started during the heart of the Renaissance era. The piece has been through a lot, even having been stolen at some point. Fortunately, today it hangs on the wall of Paris’ Louvre, where it’s exhibited under the protection of a thick bullet-proof barrier and visited by an average of 6 million people yearly.

Most Famous Paintings

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Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh’s work can easily be considered to be the most famous painted landscape of all time. The image of the village of Saint-Rémy under a trademark intense, swirling blue night sky has become equivalent to the name of the famed Dutch painter. It’s definitely not the only piece by van Gogh that can be universally recognized by quite a lot of people and, in fact, one of his latter works stands as one of the most expensive works of art ever sold. This is truthfully ironic given the fact that van Gogh has only sold one painting while he was alive. This definitely says a lot about his legacy.

Most Famous Paintings

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The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

Everyone knows this painting, and there have been numerous interpretations of the iconic scene unfolding in this legendary da Vinci piece. Painted near the end of the 15th century, the piece depicts the scene of The Last Supper, where Jesus gathered all of his Twelve Apostles to announce that one of them (spoilers, it’s Judas) would betray him. However, almost as famous as the image itself are the controversies surrounding it. While many people claim that the person seated to Jesus’ right is John the Apostle, several theories have surfaced which claim that was Mary Magdalene. All of this led to numerous media works that used the theory as a focal point, the most famous being Da Vinci’s Code.

Most Famous Paintings

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The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo Buonarroti

Nine scenes from the Book of Genesis have been transmuted into works of art through the mastery of Michelangelo. These artworks now embellish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, located in the heart of the Vatican. The most distinct of the images, though, is The Creation of Adam, which was one of the last pieces to be finished. And even though The Last Supper was definitely the source of numerous parodies in its time of existence, this Michelangelo piece probably holds the record.

9 Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals To See Before You Die

If you don't find architecture fascinating, you're missing out big time. I'll admit that your average apartment building or even a typical Romanesque construction aren't the most eye catching examples, but I can quickly turn the tides around by bringing up just one word: Gothic. No, it's nothing of the “black lace, red Victorian dress” sort, but a late Medieval movement responsible for some of the most spectacular cathedrals and abbeys in Europe. You can easily recognize a Gothic building through some key characteristics, like rib faults, pointed arches and the flying buttress. Or, to put it more commonly, they tend to be really imposing and mildly intimidating looking. Whether you're familiar with the style and want to see more, or you want to begin with the finest exhibits, we're here to help with a list of 9 Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals To See Before You Die.

1. Notre Dame de Paris

Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals - Notre Dame de Paris

Location: Paris, France

We'll start off with one of the most famous tourist attractions in Europe, the widely known Notre Dame (curtsy to Victor Hugo and his equally popular hunchback). The construction of the cathedral began sometime around the 12th century and through its centuries of existence, it suffered serious damage after the events of the French Revolution and World War II. Thankfully, an ambitious restoration process had it better looking than ever by the time we entered the 90's.

2. Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral - Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Milan, Italy

I think that one of the most impressive things about Gothic structures, is just how time consuming their construction is. One of the best examples for this is the Milan Cathedral, which took roughly six centuries to reach its final form, after the first brick was laid in the 13th century. This construction is insanely spectacular, not just because of the imposing multitude of pinnacles and spikes, but because of its size too. Milan's famed cathedral is the world's fourth largest.

3. Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence's Dome Is Among The Most Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Florence, Italy

Ah, this is quite a common sight for your average Assassin's Creed player. Long before Ezio Auditore was doing leaps of faith off the Cathedral of Florence's roof, the first constructions began in 1420, finalizing about two decades later. The most spectacular aspect of the cathedral has to be the entirely brick constructed dome, adding to the sheer massiveness of the building. Funnily so, Filippo Brunelleschi, the mind behind the dome's creation, feared losing control over the construction so much, that he kept hidden the technique that went into it. Which is why, centuries later, we still have no clue how he managed to build it.

4. Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia, Among The Top Most Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Barcelona, Spain

If you ask me, Sagrada Familia is by far the church with the biggest impact of all. It has a unique, incredibly intimidating appearance, thanks to the genius of Antonio Gaudi (who is responsible for about seventy percent of Barcelona's architecture) and it's guaranteed to make your breath stop when first laying eyes on it. Constructions first began in the 19th century and are still continuing today, with the deadline having been set for Gaudi's death centennial, in 2026. When the Sagrada will be finished, it's going to be the tallest church in the world and it'll also have the honor of owning the tallest spire on Earth.

5. Cologne Cathedral

Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals Include The Cologne Cathedral

Location: Cologne, Germany

The Cologne Cathedral, which also serves as seat for the Archbishop of Cologne, is a church with a lot of history and with a lot of superlatives attached to its name. The project was started in the 13th century, having been interrupted two hundred years later. Thankfully, the construction was resumed in the 19th century and its final form was achieved in 1880. The cathedral is Germany's biggest tourist nest, attracting over twenty thousand visitors daily. Moreover, it hosts second tallest spires in the world and the choir with the biggest width-height ratio.

6. Ulm Minster

Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals - Ulm Minster

Location: Ulm, Germany

If you're thinking that this church is incredibly scary looking, you have all the reasons to think so. It's the tallest church in the world, standing at 161 meters (530 feet) and from the top reachable level (141 meters), on a clear day, you can get a view of the Alps. As a fun fact, the last set of stairs is shaped into a spiral, with there barely being enough space for one person to fit in. If you'd like to self-induce some panic attacks, just thinking about climbing those stairs.

7. St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's - Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Vienna, Austria

Located in the central square of Vienna, Stephansplatz, St. Stephen's Cathedral proudly stands tall – and for good reason – since it's the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. Although not one hundred percent a Gothic structure, given the fact that it includes Romanesque elements in its appearance, the style of the spire alone is enough to make it a good representative of the Gothic movement.

8. Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral Is Included In The Most Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Salisbury, England

The United Kingdom also has its undeniable share of beautiful Gothic constructions, with the Salisbury Cathedral being one of the most notable examples. There are several things that make this particular church stand out, one of them being the fact that it possesses the tallest spire in the United Kingdom. Another one is that it hosts the oldest working clock in the world, as well as one of the original four copies of King John's Magna Carta.

9. Amiens Cathedral

Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals - Amiens Cathedral

Location: Amiens, France

The Amiens Cathedral is the tallest finished church in France, being deemed by many as more spectacular than the fellow Notre Dame. More than that, the building also has a historical meaning, since it houses the head of the one believed to be John the Baptist. As history has it, it was brought to the doorstep of the cathedral all the way from Constantinople, after the invasion of the Crusaders in 1204.

I was fortunate enough to see some of the entries from this list with my own eyes, so I can vouch for the fact that there is no feeling comparable with the fascinating overwhelm you encounter when you first gaze upon a Gothic cathedral. Not only are they stylistically impressive, but their age and the history that fills their walls manage to sate the cultural appetite of anyone who can get enjoy something like this. That being said, heed my advice. Add these 9 Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals To See Before You Die to your bucket list.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.