Claude Monet

Happy Bastille Day: 10 Great French Works of Art

Today marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the Paris prison that was the symbol of Louis XVI's absolutist monarchy. The jail held fewer than 10 prisoners, but the symbolic 1789 victory in has gone down in history as the day the first French Republic was born.

There are a few things the French don't do so well: cars, the Olympics, King-Louis-the-Anything-furniture. But there's also a lot that the French do well: food, movies, kissing.

The French love for and skill in creating art, though, has long been one of that nation's greatest gifts to Western culture, so much so that students have flocked for centuries to that country to learn the classic techniques as well as to witness the avant-garde. So, in honor of Bastille Day, here are 10 great French works of art.

Kordae Ortega contributed to this article.

Contemplation by Maryse Casol
Contemplation by Maryse Casol
flickr.com/photos/casol
View of a Villa, Pizzofalcone, Naples by Lancelot-Théodore Turpin de Crissé
View of a Villa, Pizzofalcone, Naples by Lancelot-Théodore Turpin de Crissé
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago
Santa Trinità dei Monti in the Snow by André Giroux
Santa Trinità dei Monti in the Snow by André Giroux
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago
Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt
Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago
Horses in a Meadow by Edgar Degas
Horses in a Meadow by Edgar Degas
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago
The Old Oak by Jules Dupré
The Old Oak by Jules Dupré
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago
Still Life with Grapes and a Carnation by Henri Fantin-Latour
Still Life with Grapes and a Carnation by Henri Fantin-Latour
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago
Fantata te Miti (By the Sea) by Paul Gauguin
Fantata te Miti (By the Sea) by Paul Gauguin
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago
Odalisque by Auguste Renoir
Odalisque by Auguste Renoir
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >