Places featured in some paintings exist in our world and you can actually visit them.
The process of creating art is very complex, but sometimes, something that catches the artist's eyes can be a house with nothing special, a beautiful landscape, or someone that brings that glimpse of inspiration to make a painting. I think it is fascinating to see how the artists' world can be more beautiful and magical than ours. Here you can see the actual place and the place in the artist's mind.
American Gothic, Grant Wood.
One of America's most famous paintings started when artist Grant Wood sketched this modest house in Eldon, at the state of Iowa. The house still stands where it was built and you can actually visit it. More information: American Gothic House Center.
Le Pont japonais, Claude Monet.
Claude Monet lived in his Giverny house for 43 years (from 1883 to 1926), where he dedicated his love for gardening and flowers. The house stands where it was built and the gardens still conserve the Japanese bridge, nymphéas, and the floral compositions that inspired the impressionist master. Giverny is a 45 minute train ride from Paris and you can get more information about visits to the garden here: Fondation Claude Monet.
The Scream, Edward Munch
One of the word's most recognisable pieces of art, The Scream depicts a person on a very anxious and despair moment. The artist created the same scene in four different compositions of both pairing and pastel. The two painted versions are held at the National Gallery, Oslo, and the other painted and the pastel version are in display at the Munch Museum.
The place that inspired the artist actually exists and it is located in a hill near Oslo, called Ekeberg Hill.
In his diary in an entry headed Nice 22 January 1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image:
"One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked."
Cafe Terrace at Night, Vincent van Gogh
The famous painting by dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, Cafe Terrace at Night, was the first painting on which the artist used starry backgrounds - the iconic Starry Night would be painted one year later in 1889.
Cafe Terrace was painted at the Place du Forum in Arles, France, and visitors can see the exact angle where the artist set up his easel, at the northeast corner of the Place.
Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat
One of the best examples of the pointillism style, Sunday Afternoon was painted between the years 1884-1886 and illustrates the island of la Grande Jatte. The island is lying in the Seine between Neuilly and Levallois-Perret, near the La Defense district. When Seurat started painting Sunday Afternoon, the island was a bucolic retreat far from the urban center.
Very disciplined, Seurat wanted to make a difference in the history of art with La Grand Jatte and he succeeded.
Sunday Afternoon was a mirror impression of his own painting, Bathers at Asnières, completed shortly before, in 1884
Christina's World, Andrew Wyeth
One of America's best known paintings, Christina's World, depicts a woman lying on the ground looking up at a gray house on the horizon. The painting is an example of realism style, called magical realism.
The woman in the painting is a friend of Wyeth, Anna Christina Olson, and the house on the background is known as the Olson House, located at Cushing, Maine. It is open to the public and visits are operated by the Farnsworth Art Museum.