Viktoria is an art student and she has an entertaining Telegram channel called “Chtozakartina.” On this channel, she talks about famous paintings in a fascinating manner. She not only discusses the paintings of the Renaissance era, but also ones that were done by modern artists.

We at Enlighten took a dive into the world of art that became quite a bit more interesting thanks to the way Viktoria talks about it.

Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow, Piet Mondrian, 1930

Piet Mondrian / Public Domain / wikipedia

The strange desire of Mondrian to remove all the extra details from his paintings lead to the result that, at some point, there were only 3 colors and lines left. Why these colors, you might be wondering? It’s simple: they are the main colors in the palette. When you mix them in different proportions, you can get an infinite number of shades. And this painting became extremely popular in 1965 because Yves Saint-Laurent designed 6 dresses when he saw the inimitable and eternal style potential in this work of art.

The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, 1907–1908

Gustav Klimt / Public Domain / wikipedia

Everyone romanticizes this painting even though some suggest it really isn’t about romantic love. First, look at the hands of the lady and the way they’re trying to pull away the man’s hands. Second, the lady is in a kneeled pose which looks like she can’t say “no” in this situation. Do you agree with this? Nevertheless, the painting itself is absolutely stunning. This magical aura made of gold (which is actually real) and the references to Egyptian culture in 2D are just awesome.

You can see this masterpiece in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.

Bouquet of Flowers in an Earthenware Vase, Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1606–1607

Jan Brueghel / Public Domain / wikipedia

Just look at this stunning painting. This is a classic Dutch flower still life. The artist traveled a lot in order to draw rare flowers and this bouquet is actually not a real one, because the flowers you see in it grow at different times of the year. This is why it took Brueghel so long to create one painting — he wasn’t just fooling around.

You can see it in the Alte Pinakothek Museum in Munich.

The Discobolus, Myron, about 460–450 BCE

Myron of Eleutherae / Public Domain / wikipedia

Everyone has probably seen this statue and you might think that this is a very famous athlete, but no. This is a generalized image that was purposefully deprived of any individuality. At the time, the personalities were not at the forefront, which can be seen in all of the art of Ancient Greece. Every sculptor was looking for their own universal formula.

By the way, the original statue which was made of bronze wasn’t preserved, unfortunately. So we only have the Roman copies made of marble. The best one is located in the Palazzo Massimo in Rome.

Old Coquette, Bernardo Strozzi, 1637

Bernardo Strozzi / Public Domain / wikipedia

The main message of the painting is obvious: getting old sucks and trying to look young when you’re not, also sucks. This painting belongs to the genre of the Baroque vanitas. It’s about how fast life is and the fact that death is inevitable. So, let’s take a quick tour of the main symbols. In one hand, the lady is holding a rose. But in the other, she has a fleur d’orange bouquet — the traditional attribute of a bride. This is so ironic, it’s hard to believe it’s real! Also, there is a not-so-subtle reference to vanitas — a dead bird on the mirror.

You can think about life and see this painting in the Pushkin Museum, in Moscow.

The Arnolfini Portrait, Jan van Eyck, 1434

Van Eyck / Public Domain / wikipedia

Have you heard about the era of the Northern Renaissance? It’s the same Renaissance, but in northern Europe, where he is from.

The painting shows a wedding. At the time, you could get married at home or in a church with 2 witnesses. If you’re wondering where the witnesses are, you should take a look in the mirror behind the couple. By the way, one of the people in the reflection is probably Jan van Eyck himself — a genius move. But the artist couldn’t help but leave another mark. A small caption above the mirror, that says something like Jan van Eyck was here. And how do you like the small dog? It is a symbol of loyalty.

This masterpiece is in the National Gallery in London.

Café Terrace at Night, Vincent van Gogh, 1888