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The Great Art Mysteries That Remain Unsolved

Antonia R.Antonia R.
Girl with a Pearl Earring

Art has produced some of the biggest mysteries in history, with Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa being just 1 of numerous examples. Let us delve into the other enigmas that experts have been unable to solve.

Who was the girl with the pearl earring?

The Girl with a Pearl Earring is Johannes Vermeer's most famous painting but even today no one knows who the muse with the headscarf on her head actually was. There are various theories speculating about her identity, with some saying that she was Vermeer's lover or perhaps his daughter.

The painter was known for his prolific love life, which resulted in 15 children from different women. He created a rich collection of works but the Girl with a Pearl Earring is unarguably his greatest masterpiece.

The muse-prostitute

Portrait of Wally is Austrian painter Egon Schiele's most famous of a series of paintings with the muse of the same name. Wally's enigmatic smiles have earned her the nickname the "Viennese Mona Lisa" among art critics.

Wally's profession has led to great debate among artistic circles. One theory states that she was a merchant, another - that she was a prostitute. It's well-known that her relationship with Schiele went beyond just a working one. There's even claims that their intimate relationship continued after the painter married a noblewoman that was renowned in Viennese society.

What was David's weapon?


In Michelangelo's David, we see David holding an unknown object in his right hand. Some experts say this is a fustibal - a type of slingshot common in the Middle Ages, while others, pointing to the Bible, note that the Biblical David was armed with a shepherd's crook.

Who is the man underneath the Woman Ironing painting?

Woman Ironing

Through use of an infrared camera, researchers have shown that Pablo Picasso's Woman Ironing doesn't consist of just one image, as one might think at first glance, but of two. Besides the woman ironing, the artist had painted a man with a mustache on the same canvas. The obvious question then is: who was this man?

It is theorized that it is a self-portrait of Picasso himself but that it is also just part of a puzzle that the great painter encoded into all of his works.

Degas's missing painting

Dancer Making Points

Edgar Degas's Dancer Making Points is another one of the greatest mysteries in the art world. Its last owner, Henry Bloch, told the FBI that it was in possession of the wealthy heiress Huguette Clark, accusing her of theft. The widow denied the accusations, while also doing everything possible to stop the investigation of the missing painting.

Ultimately, the painting was believed to have remained with Clark, who made an agreement with Bloch to donate it after her death. But after her passing in 2011, she left behind a controversial will that failed to mention a single word about Degas's renowned piece.