Not everyone agrees on what is controversial artwork. Some would label an artwork controversial just because many people did not like it and some did. However, it takes more than that for an artwork to be truly controversial. There have been pieces of art that rocked society by the bold statements they made. Artists whose work dared to challenge the social norms, made history and caused people’s jaws to drop are the ones with controversial artwork. Other artwork may be interesting or hated, but they simply did not make this list. Here are four of the most controversial artworks ever.
A listing of controversial artwork cannot be complete if it leaves out the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Good old Leonardo is responsible for some of the most famous, important and controversial artwork on the planet. One of his masterpieces, the Mona Lisa, is still causing controversy to this day. Not that the graceful lady is involved in any scandal, but people just do not know what to make of her. For centuries people have tried to discover the identity of Leonardo’s muse. Also they cannot agree on the expression of her face. Nevertheless the Mona Lisa often appears in media. This painting has been used in films, and advertisements, and more. The popularity of the Mona Lisa and the curiosity about her is what allows this masterpiece to be included in this list of controversial artwork.
The next piece of controversial artwork does include a bit of scandal. The second painting on the list of controversial artwork is Madame X by John Singer Sargent. To just look at the painting the idea of any controversy about it may seem strange, but the copy of this artwork as it is depicted today is much different than when the painting was first released. Madame X is actually a painting of social beauty, Madame Gautreau. Sargent has to change his work after it mortified the Paris Salon of 1884, along with Gautreau’s family. The original showed Gautreau with the right strap of her dress hanging off her shoulder. While that may be no big deal in today’s society, back then it was more sexuality than they could stand.