30 artworks to see before you die, from Mona Lisa to The Great Wave

Charlotte Cripps

What makes a great painting? Is it one that makes you wonder how on earth the artist reproduced a scene so precisely in paint? Or ones that captures emotion in a single brushstroke? Or simply something utterly beautiful?

Art lovers can amble around Paris’s the Louvre, New York’s Moma, Madrid’s Prado, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and London’s Tate Gallery – even Venice’s Sistine Chapel, looking at walls (and ceilings) full of art.

But there is something altogether different about going to see one particular artwork – a masterpiece – and examining what makes it special, marvelling at the colours they used, the symbolism in the painting, the art movement their work spearheaded, and even the mystery of the sitter.

Of course, some great paintings are in private collections, but here are a selection of some of the best artworks in public galleries and museums, all over the world.

Click through to see them.