"Freedom Wall" by John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed (2017)

The Most Famous Murals in the World


Featured image: "Freedom Wall" by John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed (2017)

Murals have transformed public spaces around the globe into open-air galleries, each narrating stories, celebrating history, or inspiring social change.

Famous murals include Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry Murals," Michelangelo's "The Sistine Chapel Ceiling," Banksy's "The Flower Thrower," Shepard Fairey's "Nelson Mandela," Eduardo Kobra's "Etnias," Rivera's "Man at the Crossroads," and Picasso's "Guernica."

These large-scale paintings range from ancient frescoes to modern street art, creating iconic sights in the art world.

Explore our curated selection of contemporary artists from around the globe.

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  1. "Detroit Industry Murals" by Diego Rivera (1932-1933)

    "Detroit Industry Murals" by Diego Rivera (1932-1933)

    These murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts epitomize the city's industrial and labor heritage, with Rivera’s frescoes capturing the spirit of both the industry and its workers, symbolizing the fusion of technology and human effort​.

  2. "The Sistine Chapel Ceiling" by Michelangelo (1508-1512)

    "The Sistine Chapel Ceiling" by Michelangelo (1508-1512)

    Michelangelo's Renaissance masterpiece, covering the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, includes the famous 'Creation of Adam' and attracts millions with its intricate biblical scenes and breathtaking artistry​.

  3. "The Flower Thrower" by Banksy (2003)

    "The Flower Thrower" by Banksy (2003)

    This piece in Jerusalem by Banksy features a rioter throwing flowers, a powerful symbol of peace in conflict. It showcases Banksy’s ability to convey strong messages through provocative street art.

  4. "Nelson Mandela" by Shepard Fairey (2014)

    "Nelson Mandela" by Shepard Fairey (2014)

    In Johannesburg, this mural honors the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, encapsulating themes of hope and resilience in Fairey's distinctive style, and inspiring peace through visual art​.

  5. "Etnias" by Eduardo Kobra (2016)

    "Etnias" by Eduardo Kobra (2016)

    Kobra’s mural for the Rio Olympics is one of the largest globally, portraying faces from diverse ethnic backgrounds, celebrating unity and the Olympic spirit through vibrant, captivating imagery.

  6. "Man at the Crossroads" by Diego Rivera (1934)

    "Man at the Crossroads" by Diego Rivera (1934)

    Originally located at the Rockefeller Center and later destroyed due to its controversial content, Rivera’s mural depicted scenes of industry and technology alongside socialist imagery. It's a striking example of art's power in political expression.

  7. "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso (1937)

    "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso (1937)

    Although technically a painting, "Guernica" has been displayed like a mural and holds a mural's influence and size, symbolizing the horrors of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This piece has impacted art, politics, and culture profoundly.

These murals are not merely art; they are expressions of cultural identity, political commentary, and calls for social justice. Their stories and the artists' visions continue to inspire and challenge public perceptions and community identity worldwide.

Learn more About Naturalist Gallery of Contemporary Art.

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