Greatest Works of Art of All Time (In-Progress: Currently Featuring Rock, Jazz, Classical Music, Films, Paintings & Miscellaneous 2-D Visual Art)

  1. 9.6/10
  2. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor "Choral" - Ludwig van Beethoven (1824)
  3. Sistine Chapel (Ceiling & The Last Judgement) - Michelangelo Buonarroti (1541)
  4. Symphony No. 9 in D Major - Gustav Mahler (1910)
  5. Peasants' War Panorama - Werner Tubke (1987) [aka, "Early Bourgeois Revolution in Germany"]

  6. 9.5/10
  7. Symphony No. 15 in A Major - Dmitri Shostakovich (1971)
  8. Citizen Kane - Orson Welles (1941)
  9. The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady - Charles Mingus (1963)
  10. In the Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
  11. Metropolis - Fritz Lang (1926) [The "Complete" Metropolis, 147 minutes]
  12. The Garden of Earthly Delights - Hieronymus Bosch (1504)

  13. 9.4/10
  14. Requiem - Giuseppe Verdi (1874)
  15. Mass in B Minor - J.S. Bach (1749)
  16. Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1969)
  17. Underground - Emir Kusturica (1995)
  18. Escalator Over The Hill - Carla Bley (1971)
  19. Brazil - Terry Gilliam (1985) [The Final Cut, 142 minutes]

  20. 9.3/10
  21. Rock Bottom - Robert Wyatt (1974)
  22. Philosophy, Medicine & Jurisprudence - Gustav Klimt (1903) [University of Vienna Ceiling Paintings; destroyed in 1945]
  23. Symphony No. 4 in E Minor - Johannes Brahms (1885)
  24. A Love Supreme - John Coltrane (1964)
  25. Nostalghia - Andrei Tarkovsky (1983)
  26. Faust - Faust (1971)
  27. Lost Highway - Lynch (1997)
  28. Phenomena - Pavel Tchelitchew (1938)
  29. Glagolitic Mass - Janacek (1926)

  30. 9.2/10
  31. The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  32. The Doors - The Doors (1967)
  33. Symphony No. 5 in C Minor - Beethoven (1808)
  34. Ascension - John Coltrane (1965)
  35. Touch of Evil - Welles (1958) [Restored Welles' Cut, 108 minutes]
  36. Collective Suicide - David Siqueiros (1936) [aka, "Prometheus Bound"]
  37. Parable of Arable Land - Red Crayola (1967)
  38. Unit Structures - Cecil Taylor (1966)
  39. Communications - The Jazz Composer's Orchestra (1968) [aka, "The Jazz Composer's Orchestra-Michael Mantler"]
  40. Twin Infinitives - Royal Trux (1990)
  41. North By Northwest - Hitchcock (1959)


  43. 9.1/10
  44. The Kingdom - Von Trier (1994)
  45. Sabra and Shatila Massacre - Dia Al-Azzawi (1983)
  46. Seeds, Visions & Counterpoint - Ivo Perelman (1996)
  47. Europe After The Rain II - Max Ernst (1942)
  48. The Battle of Calverhine - Henry Darger (1929)
  49. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan (1965)
  50. Nashville - Altman (1975)
  51. Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889 - James Ensor (1888)
  52. Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor "Appassionata" - Beethoven (1807)
  53. Exile On Main Street - Rolling Stones (1972)
  54. The Wild Bunch - Peckinpah (1969) [Director's Cut, 145 minutes]
  55. Starsailor - Tim Buckley (1970)
  56. Mirror - Tarkovsky (1974)
  57. The Reminiscences of Judge Schulze (Parts II, III & VII) - Werner Tubke (1967)
  58. The Modern Dance - Pere Ubu (1978)
  59. Metropolis - George Grosz (1917)
  60. Concerto for Orchestra - Bartok (1943)
  61. Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From The New World" - Dvorak (1893)
  62. Missa Solemnis in D major - Beethoven (1823)
  63. Requièm Mass in D minor - Mozart (1791)
  64. Symphony No. 9 in C major "The Great" - Schubert (1826)
  65. Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major "Hammerklavier" - Beethoven (1818)

  66. 9.0/10
  67. Dolmen Music - Meredith Monk (1981)
  68. Possession - Zulawski (1981) [Original Cut, 123 minutes]
  69. The Beethoven Frieze - Gustav Klimt (1902)
  70. Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor - Beethoven (1822)
  71. String Quartet No. 15 in A minor - Beethoven (1825)
  72. Persona - Bergman (1966)
  73. Improvisie - Paul Bley (1971)
  74. Metamorphose de Narcisse - Salvador Dali (1937)
  75. Rite of Spring - Stravinsky (1913)
  76. Hide and Seek - Pavel Tchelitchew (1942)
  77. Inland Empire - Lynch (2006)
  78. City Worried - Paul Delvaux (1941)
  79. The Traveling Players - Angelopoulos (1975)
  80. Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor - J.S. Bach (1723)
  81. Lorca - Tim Buckley (1970)
  82. The Last Supper - Da Vinci (1497)
  83. Desertshore - Nico (1970)
  84. The Passion of Joan of Arc - Dreyer (1927)
  85. Crucifixion - Salvador Dali (1954)
  86. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1968)
  87. Ikiru - Kurosawa (1952)
  88. The Kiss - Gustav Klimt (1908)
  89. Y - The Pop Group (1979)
  90. Guernica - Pablo Picasso (1937)
  91. Symphonie Fantastique - Berlioz (1830)
  92. Symphony No. 5 - Mahler (1902)

  93. 8.9/10
  94. Violin Concerto in D major - Brahms (1878)
  95. Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major - Mozart (1785)
  96. Landscape in the Mist - Angelopoulos (1988)
  97. The Marble Index - Nico (1969)
  98. Cobra - John Zorn (1986)
  99. Lullaby Land - Vampire Rodents (1993)
  100. Triumph of Death - Pieter Bruegel (1562)
  101. Virtual Inquisition/Cloning Eve's Baptism - Mesami Teraoka (1999)
  102. Slow, Deep & Hard - Type O Negative (1991)
  103. Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte - Aldrich (1965)
  104. Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth (1988)
  105. Apocalypse Now - Coppola (1979) [Original Theatrical Release, 153 minutes]
  106. From Her To Eternity - Nick Cave (1984)
  107. Streams - Sam Rivers (1973)
  108. Forever Changes - Love (1967)
  109. Vertigo - Alfred Hitchcock (1958)
  110. Lady of the Mirrors - Anthony Davis (1980)
  111. Tabula Rasa - Part (1977)
  112. Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk (1988)
  113. The Sacrifice - Tarkovsky (1986)
  114. When the Eye of Pandora's Mask Screams - Evi Moechel (aka "Zazie") (2011) [RARE. May be incorrect title]
  115. Kick Out The Jams - MC5 (1969)
  116. Symphony of Three Orchestras - Carter (1976)
  117. The Ascension - Glenn Branca (1981)
  118. Symphony No. 3 in F Major - Brahms (1883)
  119. Psalm 69 - Ernst Fuchs (1960)
  120. Irrlicht - Klaus Schulze (1972)
  121. 2001: A Space Odyssey - Kubrick (1968)
  122. Blade Runner - Scott (1982) [The Final Cut, 117 minutes]
  123. The Last Judgement - Hieronymus Bosch (1505)
  124. Atlantis - Sun Ra (1967)
  125. Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major "Eroica" - Beethoven (1804)
  126. Bitches Brew - Miles Davis (1969)
  127. The Godfather - Coppola (1972)
  128. Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan (1966)
  129. La Dolce Vita - Fellini (1960)
  130. The Fight Between Carnival and Lent - Pieter Bruegel (1559)

  131. 8.8/10
  132. Absolutely Free - Frank Zappa (1967)
  133. The Triumph of Andre Breton and Surrealism - Shahla Rosa (2006) [aka, "The Triumph"]
  134. Horses - Patti Smith (1975)
  135. Marnie - Hitchcock (1964)
  136. Afternoon of a Georgia Faun - Marion Brown (1970)
  137. Nail - Foetus (1985)
  138. Natural Born Killers - Stone (1994) [Director's Cut, 123 minutes]
  139. Men, War and Old Painter - Bernhard Heisig (2004)
  140. Suicide - Suicide (1977)
  141. Taxi Driver - Scorsese (1976)
  142. Crucifixion - Max Ernst (1913)
  143. Spiderland - Slint (1991)
  144. Greed - Von Stroheim (1924) [Studio Cut, 140 minutes]
  145. Stalker - Tarkovsky (1979)
  146. Laughing Stock - Talk Talk (1991)
  147. Quadrofarius - Artem Ogurtsov (2013)
  148. Zen Arcade - Husker Du (1984)
  149. The Killer - Woo (1989)
  150. Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh - Magma (1973)
  151. Netherlandish Proverbs - Pieter Bruegel (1559)
  152. Diamanda Galas - Diamanda Galas (1984)
  153. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover - Greenaway (1989)
  154. Dante, Divine Comedy, Welcome into the Hell - Vlada Mirkovic (2009)
  155. Crystals - Sam Rivers (1974)
  156. The Eve - Luis Jose Estremadoyro (1996)
  157. Yeti - Amon Duul II (1970)
  158. Raiders of the Lost Ark - Spielberg (1981)
  159. Il Grande Metafisico - Gregorio De Chirico (1917)
  160. Third - Soft Machine (1970)
  161. Ran - Kurosawa (1985)
  162. The Battle of Alexander at Issus - Albrecht Altdorfer (1529)
  163. Epitaph - Charles Mingus (1962)
  164. Free Jazz - Ornette Coleman (1960)
  165. Even the Sounds Shine - Myra Melford (1994)
  166. Yerself Is Steam - Mercury Rev (1991)
  167. Symphony No. 41 in C Major "Jupiter" - Mozart (1788)
  168. White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  169. The Funeral (Dedicated to Oskar Panizza) - George Grosz (1918)
  170. Litanies of Satan - Diamanda Galas (1982)
  171. Fall of the Damned - Peter Paul Rubens (1620) [aka, "Fall of the Rebel Angels"]
  172. Toccata & Fugue in D Minor - J.S. Bach (1707)
  173. Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima - Penderecki (1960)
Author Comments: 

A massive undertaking...

this list is awe-inspiring, i think i'll do one for myself. if i have the patience to list everything in exact order lol.

do you have any desire to include novels or poetry etc.?

Thanks. I doubt if I'll ever set aside enough time to read many novels. Movies are only an avg of 2 hrs a pop, albums about 45 minutes and great paintings generally take a few minutes of viewing and some contemplation (and sometimes some research) to absorb (though all 3 of these often take repeated listens/viewings)--so time-wise it's just so much more feasible... Poetry, on the other hand is a very real possibility at some point in the future. T.S. Eliot is my favorite at this time. The Wasteland is probably a 9.5. His Four Quartets is stunning as well.

That said, to precisely answer your question, I do have a desire to include novels so who knows...maybe some day...

If there's an issue of time, maybe try a few shorter novels first? Like these:

Notes from Underground - Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - R.L. Stevenson
The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll

One or two of these might be 8.8+, all of them are probably 7.3+ at least.

Thanks :-)

Btw, I would no longer consider my statement above re: "great paintings generally take a few minutes of viewing..." to be accurate. While one can enjoy and "appreciate" many of them in short order, to fully unveil their merits, most have taken hours of study/analysis (and in several cases, research, historical study, etc). Once that is done, then yes, such thorough work may no longer be necessary. But, for instance, large or very detailed works such as the Sistine Chapel or Tubke's Peasant's War Panorama or Garden of Earthly Delights, can take several hours of observation/study/evaluation to thoroughly assimilate all the emotions/themes/ideas, etc. The resulting state of understanding and perpetual awe is well worth it though :-)

I've also contemplated doing a list like this, but it's too ambitious.

I could name pieces on your list that I love as well; squabble endlessly about some of your selections (Requiem for a Dream, Blow Up, Battleship Potemkin, Blade Runner, etc) and order (having Violin Partita #2, Schubert's 8th and Beethoven's 7th, Mozart's 41th, Cypresses and 8 1/2 behind the likes of Hosianna Mantra, Brazil, Zardoz, etc) but instead I'll just make suggestions.

The absence of the written word altogether is the most striking and inexplicable. If it's a medium you haven't dived into I highly suggest it. Its masterpieces are rank among the greatest of all.

Rembrandt's Haman Recognizes his Fate
Puccini's Madame Butterfly (Maria Callas' rendition especially)
Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken
Francis Bacon's Crouching Figure
Shakespeare's masterpieces (Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Antony & King Lear, etc)
Marcel Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu
William Wordsworth's The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet's Mind
Mike Leigh's Abigails Party
Michelangelo's Pieta
George Balanchine's Jewels
Ralp Waldo Emerson's Essays I & II
Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard
Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives & Sevens work
Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina
Chardin's The Silver Cup
Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game
Henry James' Beast in the Jungle
Robert Bresson's A Man Escaped
Yuri Grigorovich / Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker
Yasujiro Ozu's Late Spring
Edward Hopper's New York Movie
Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry
Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass
Pablo Neruda's I Do Not Love You
John Milton's Paradise Lost

Well I should probably stop there. Anyways, interested on seeing how this list turns out. Good stuff.

You forgot George Miller's Babe: Pig in the City.

...or Aldrich's Hush...Hush Sweet Charlo--hey, wait a second...

Thanks for the suggestions, all of which are worthy of consideration, though I don't find Armstrong's works emotional/powerful enough (though undeniably important/influential). Though I find Renoir's Rules of the Game amazing I don't think it's on the level of the other films here, particularly Zardoz ( : I'd definitely take the rest into strong consideration particularly when/if I start adding poetry/novels. I have yet to see the Bresson/Ozu/Kiarostami though...

Out of the paintings you listed, I enjoyed Bacon's the most, New York Movie the second most. Michelangelo's Pieta would certainly be on here if I were adding sculptors at this time (coming very soon, probably next).

The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground (1967) - this is probably the best modern/"rock" album, it's a definitely 9.5, but your list is awesome. It's one of the best thing I've seen in the last months (or maybe years), thank you.

Thanks, for me VU & Nico is VERY close to a 9.5 so I don't really disagree with you at all. There have been multiple times I almost upgraded it...

As for me, when I'm referring to rock music I prefer giving 10s to the best of the best until now, and only 2 are perfect 10s: VU & Nico and The Doors. Trout Mask Replica could join them, but I really need to listen more to Beefheart's masterpiece, I guess I'm not perfectly ready for it.

VU & Nico and The Doors are great top choices. And yea, TMR is quite a lot to take in. Good luck!

Btw, are you a Scaruffi fan? I see many of his favourite albums/paintings in your list.

Yes, I frequently agree with him on his choices. Our criteria is very similar.

Though, regarding this list: it definitely needs to be updated, and there are many classical omissions that I simply haven't gotten back around to re-listening to over the last few years. Not sure exactly when I'll get around to doing it (hopefully soon). I've just been so focused on movies over the last 1-2 years (movies are so much more time consuming than music!). Classical is my next "project" after movies...

I perfectly know what you're trying to say, I made myself many tops/lists, but sometimes (most of the time, to be honest) I'm not in the mood for updating those, so many of them are obsolete.

Classical, you mean symphonic music (baroque, romantic, opera etc)/anything before 1920?

I wish I watched more movies, unfortunately I only watched very few good movies.

You say movies are time consuming, but books are 10 times more :) Well, in fact you couldn't say art is "time consuming" at all, but it's all about the interval you spend in "researching" that piece of art.

By classical music I just mean all of its sub-genres included (symphonic, opera, concertos, etc), all the way up to present day.

Re: books... yea, don't know if I'll ever make much of a list on books :(

As somebody mentioned, this is some ambitious list. I don't think I agree with all of the choices, but it's awesome overall.

Thanks :)

Yer welcome. :)

Hey, you are also a Best Ever Albums member, right?

Yea, though I haven't shown up there or made any updates in probably a couple years

You should come back. It's going really awesome there. I'm a relatively new member there (joined in October 2011, I think)

Thanks, I might. Almost all of my attention has been on discovering all the greatest movies (as opposed to albums) over the last couple years.

Good, would like meeting you there :)

I can understand why you would want to do that. I myself am finding myself getting more interested in movies.

Just checked it out (even remembered my password!), and it's definitely been improved upon since I was last around

Awesome! :)

Afterhours are u influenced by that moron of Scaruffi? Shostakovich produced 15 Symphonies and the last one is not in the top 5. Try to listen the First Symphony, written at 19. It's a jewel.

I see in #18 a famous work by Dali. Try to make yours le Chant d'Amour and portrait of Guillame Apollinaire by De Chirico. Maybe you'll rethink your list.

then, other personal osservation -). May I ask you why do u consider the Sistine Chapel as a single job? Michelangelo realized the ceiling between 1508 and 1512, while he finished the Last Judgment in 1541. Between the two jobs there are thirty years of difference, a very different style and above all they deal with different issues. I think that the same ceiling can be divided into many different single works of art, for instance, the creation of adam, the various Prophets and the Sybils.

I consider it a single work of art, not a single job. You could compare it to an album, with each of the parts songs to that album. I might break it up between Last Judgment and 1508-1512 but that's as far as I would go in dividing it as a work of art.

Europe after the rain II by Ernst is an idiotic idea by Scaruffi. That was a very rhetoric work.

Sorry, but the more i scroll down r list the more i need the urgence to write observations. at #42 I find the first work of JSB, maybe the same listed by Scaruffi. It's a joke, a not amusing joke: Bach did wrote at least 100 works better than BWV 565: the toccata is fantastic and the fugue is well written but there's no ponderance and interconnection between the vertical voices so it can't be compared with a single fugue of the Well Tempered Clavier. I write this in your interest.

Scaruffi doesn't rank classical music (except in a random, inconsistent list from 1950 on), so I have no idea which Bach works he'd rank where. I've heard all of Bach's major works (including organ) and while, he'd have much more to consider for this list if I updated it, we'll just have to agree to disagree on the "100 works better" part.

Last considerations on your top ten:
1.Symphony #9 in D Major-Mahler (1910)
2.The Garden of Delights-Bosch (1504)
3.The Sistine Chapel-Michelangelo (1541)
4.Symphony #9 in D Minor "Choral"-Beethoven (1824)
5.The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady-Charles Mingus (1963)
6.Metropolis-Lang (1926) [Restored Edition, 124 minutes]
7.Europe After The Rain II-Ernst (1942)
8.Trout Mask Replica-Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1969)
9.Requiem-Verdi (1874)
10.A Symphony of Three Orchestras-Carter (1976)

Mahler Ninth is a gorgeous work but i think that the two middle movement are not innovative and inspired as the extreme ones.
On the Garden of Delights of Bosch i'm totally agree. Maybe not in my top ten but it's the masterpiece that all surrealist artists should study and admire.
The Ninth by Ludwig van is ok.
Trout Mask Replica is a good entry for '60 avantguard pop-ular music but a honest list should not insert it in the top 200. Listen to it after Sister Ray and u'll understand what i mean.
On Verdi: Requiem is on of his best works with Rigoletto, Traviata and Falstaff. I still miss Othello.

Thanks for your views and I admire your opinion, but remember: both our views are opinions and nothing more. I've listened to WL/WH many, many times, and although I think it is a masterpiece just as you do, I personally find TMR vastly superior. I do agree that Sister Ray as a song on its own is the supreme masterpiece of all rock and is probably superior to any lengthy portion of Trout Mask Replica.

We definitely agree on both Beethoven's 9th and Bosch's Garden of Delights. Each are incredible :)

Re: Mahler's 9th... Aside from possibly Beethoven's 9th and perhaps Shostakovich's 15th, I'm not aware of any symphony that is as consisently incredible. Also, you may be listening to an inferior recording of Mahler's 9th. Try Barbirolli's EMI recording if you haven't already.

Personally, I would place TMR sixth on my greatest albums list, and WL/WH would be one spot higher, on #5. (Still, Beefheart does win out over VU for me: Doc at the Radar Station is #3 on my list.)

It's all opinion, (and I also personally think that The Gift may be almost as good as Sister Ray, as I've always loved the black humor kinda ending of the story in The Gift, or WL/WH or the truly magnificent proto-metal song I Heard Her Call My Name are also pretty awesome).

BTW, what's your opinion of Lick My Decals Off and Doc? I think the former is not even nearly as good as many people say it is, and it definitely doesn't beat TMR, or Safe as Milk either for that matter. I still do love it, and would probably place it at 5 on a Beefheart's greatest albums list. The latter is, IMO, the best Beefheart album.

Haven't heard Doc yet, and its been a long time since I listened to Lick My Decals Off (not even sure if I've heard the entire thing actually). I remember it being great, but it's hard to say if I'd see it exactly the same way now.

You are kidding, right? You being such a fan of TMR, I wouldn't have expected that.....

I have visited and revisited a staggering amount of movies, music (rock, jazz, classical), and paintings over the last 4-5 years. Right now I am using my time only on those that I think have the highest potential of making my lists (8/10+ for music, 7.5/10+ for films).

Then Beefheart's albums might have high potential too, since you do love TMR and Safe as Milk?

That's not all I've listened to by him, but my basic answer is: no, there are hundreds of albums I consider a higher priority than Doc at the Radar Station, though with you now recommending it so highly I may give it a spin sooner - not a promise though

Hmm, surprised.

You should give it a spin when you get the time. It's almost as harsh and abrasive as, say, TMR, and Beefheart's voice just got more awesome! It's like they updated Trout Mask Replica, adding a few more things! It's at the same time a look back to the work they had done earlier, and at the same time a whole unique record on its own. Definitely recommended!

Sorry for the rough tone of my past observationa, After. I was a bit drunk and i hope u will take them as suggestions. Anyway, i really hope (for r personal pleasure) that u will degree r knowledge on JSB and Shostakovich. I still cannot understand how a good listener like you can take the 15Th by Dmitri over a single symphony by Beethoven (except the Ninth). For instance, listen to the Eroica or the Seventh. The comparison is embarassing. At least, change it with the Resurrection by Mahler :)))
And again: on #64. Try to make yours Marble Index: is less known than Desertshore but more intimate and mysterious.

Yeah, the Marble Index is as good of a choice as Desertshore, agree with you there.....

"also personally think that The Gift may be almost as good as Sister Ray, as I've always loved the black humor kinda ending of the story in The Gift, or WL/WH or the truly magnificent proto-metal song I Heard Her Call My Name are also pretty awesome." I agree. The only "good" song of that album is Here she comes now.

And partially reject r idea about personal opinion in argumenting our favourite works. Even the love for Bieber and Gaga is a subjective stuff. Anyway if the Ninth of Beethoven is the work that we all know and Justin Bieber is the trash that we all dislike i think that there is something objective in art. The good thing is the argumentation over our personal ideas to reach , together, as difficult as it is, the objective knowlegde and estimation of a single work of art.

Each track of WL/WH is a masterpiece, or nearly a masterpiece.

I've never really cared about objective knowledge in music that much. Almost always went by personal opinion.

This is mostly a reply to maxshrek, but I supposed the first paragraph could be to both of you...

We might rate songs differently. I rate them the same as albums. If I say The Gift is a 9/10 (masterpiece) that means I am saying that it, all by itself, is as amazing/emotional etc as an entire 9/10 album.

I don't want to get into yet another circular discussion of objectivity vs subjectivity when all objectivity was originally decided by subjective thought in the first place (as far as can be proven). That said, it is very difficult for me to fathom someone truly considering an artist such as Justin Beiber greater than an artist such as Beethoven given equal familiarity and understanding of both.

Re: Shostakovich's 15th... it is by far and away one of the most original works of art ever and possibly the most drastic symphonic development since Beethoven's 9th. The entire thing, while structured like a symphony, is practically a chamber piece. It is totally internal and introverted as opposed to all symphonies (that I can think of) being the reverse (for the majority of their running time). It is Shostakovich's dying soul, wasting away in a highly stream-of-conscious format, perusing his life via the employment of a tremendous assortment of influences. Along with his life, his influences, the symphony as a form fades away and dies. His 15th is perhaps his life flashing before his eyes as he lays there dying.

Re: Europe after the Rain... I simply can't see what you're talking about. It is an ASTOUNDING work of the post apocalypse as a landscape of the soul of man. The level of detail and emotional depth of expression is an awe-inspiring, otherworldly achievement.

Re: Scaruffi... I often use him as a template for recommendations, but I make my choices, ratings, rankings from there. We have a very similar criteria so often agree.

So you admit it that The Gift is a masterpiece? XD Just joking.

And I agree with, that objectivity itself was decided by subjective thought, so really, everything is subjective.

RE: Bach...from a post above... It's been 1.5 years since I made any updates, and I haven't been working on anything but movies over that time. Bach would probably have 5-10 works on here if I were to update. Mass in B Minor might be in the top 5 ever.

Hey there AfterHours, I like your list, I also love the Gardens of Delight, Mahler's 9th and Part's Tabula Rasa. I think you're missing maybe some architecture and literature....
I'm just going to remind you something: Mass in B minor is a 10, and you know it.

Thanks, see the post just above this one. This list is outdated. I am just now going back through classical and progress on this can be followed on my "Greatest Classical Music Works of All Time". This list will be updated at some later time.

re: missing architecture and literature... of course, but doesn't the title say what this list does include?

Cool, I just went to that one. And sorry didn't read the title completely at all.
I have to ask you something, are you rating and putting in the same level some rock albums (like the Doors) in the same level as some classical pieces? Not to sound like a snob, I get it with some jazz and Krautrock albums, but some others I just don't. I mean I love rock, my favourite band is Radiohead, and I love The Doors album, my guitar teacher introduced me to it by playing Light my fire, but are you rating these albums with grades according to the standards popular music and alagously with classical? As much as I enjoy Kid A and Bob Dylan I just don't see fair to compare them with Dvorak's 9th for example, they lack the complexity and the depth of it (but of course classical lacks the cozzyness and empathy of rock music).

Yes, a 9 (or any other numerical rating) is no different in classical, rock, jazz (or films). My criteria is the same regardless of genre. The Doors is one of the greatest works of art ever. Dylan's Blonde on Blonde is up there as well. As for Kid A and most rock albums, I'd agree with you that it's "not fair to compare them".

Light my Fire and The End are among the best songs ever. Now changing of subject, what about Rembrandt and Velazquez? I know there's few artistic merit in most baroque paintings since they are just pictures of noble and religious life, with the occasional portrait of secular scenes, leaving few space to the true essence of art which is thought or expression, but Las meninas and The Night Watch have such high technical features thay they should not be overlooked.

Both are great. Not sure if I'd rate any 9/10+. It will probably be awhile before I get back around to paintings. The only ones on here that are currently totally secure are the 9.5's and a handful of the highest 9's. After that, it's very open to change.

I just watched Possession. What a powerful creation. How do u interpret the final?

Good question. Here's a brief interpretation of the film I wrote in a reply on my "Top 10 Movies & Albums of the Week" a couple months ago:


The alien creature is a giant, horrendous phallus (symbolically and physically, including several tentacles that are each a phallus on their own), representative of an overwhelming sexual power Neil can't possibly hope to match.

The entire film is an incredibly scathing analysis of Zulawski's own separation from his wife at the time: the giant phallic creature an unflinching reveal of his feelings of sexual inferiority towards who she had been cheating with, the growth of the creature to a more ideal, godlike person in his exact likeness, the ferociously volcanic emotional stress of it all, the destruction of the family unit and everyone closely involved, the bathtub suicide of the son an outraged metaphor for the affects that will linger in their child, not to mention the final metaphor which has the audacity to liken their break up to have erupted into a schism on the order of World War III. It is one of the most unflinching films ever made, and among the angriest outcries in all of art.

I love the camera work too, constantly swooping and spiraling parallel to the emotional breakdowns and the out-of-control downward spiral of their relationship.

Another point that is often missed I think is that the astonishing scene in the subway, (one of the most shocking, gut-wrenching and emotionally moving scenes in all of cinema), is a flashback to her having the miscarriage that later grows into the phallic monster. So essentially she ends up having sex with her son, and her son its mother, lending the film a grotesque Oedipus complex.

Clap clap

As for Classical music Sacred works... have u already listened the St. Matthew Passion by JSB? Trust me... Verdi's Requiem is a baby in comparison.

In my opinion, Verdi's Requiem would not look like a baby if you had compared it to ANY work of art.

Alternately, I love Requiem but think Verdi did much better work. Otello, La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Falstaff, Don Carlo, Aida... One of them great geniuses, in my opinion.

That said I would take St Matthews over Requiem, and also Brahms' sacred work which is beginning to sound pompous.

I can think of no other work that elicits emotions as powerfully as Verdi's Requiem. For me, it is the musical equivalent to Michealangelo's Last Judgement. It encompasses the nature of humanity to such a compelling degree. In it one can trace all our deepest impulses: from our longing for justice and triumph over evil to our urge to surrender ourselves to embrace some sort of divine goodness. I have rarely seen anguish as concentrated and displayed with such burning passion as in the Lacrymosa, which seems to depict a longing to punish the wicked. Everywhere, from the depictions of God's wrath in Dies Irae to the hair-raising climax of Rex Tremendae, there permeates a godlike energy that which words seem powerless to describe. It doesn't seem possible for a work as powerful as the Requiem to have been created by a mortal man. It would seem that Verdi was something else.

Indeed, imho the last judgment is a gargantuan failure. Maybe the most opulent work of art ever but it lacks in harmony and beauty.
I think that comparing the Michelangelo's Last Judgment to Vermeer's small Lacemaker is a decisive confrontation to understand what is the real Art.
The same can be said between 2 Michelangelo's works: The Last Judgment and the Rondanini Pietà.

I never once compared Michelangelo's Last Judgment to Vermeer's Lacemaker. I have no clue how you got that from reading my comment.

I was not referring to you, really.

As for his other operas: I regrettably have not gotten the chance to listen to them yet. If they are indeed greater than his Requiem, all I can say is "GOODNESS!"

Let me make an amendment, after relistening to Requiem I overstated how much better the operas are, although I still confess to preferring them. A Verdi piece that doesn't get enough attention around these parts: Te Deum.

If you prefer his operas over his requiem, that's fine. And for all I know I may end up feeling the same as you do once I finally get to listen to them. I'm glad you gave his requiem a relistening. What recordings of that work have you listened to? I hope Giulini's was one of them. His reading is the only one I've listened to so far but, for me, it's incredible. It's one of those recordings that are so good that you don't want to bother with alternatives!

As far as Requiem goes, I have only listened to recordings by Riccardo Muti (with Cheryl Studer, Dolora Zajic and Luciano Pavorotti) and, the version which I confess to preferring, by Arturo Toscanini (with Herva Nelli, Fedora Barbieri and Giuseppe di Stefano). I will have to look out for Giulini.

I may note that Toscanini is fast becoming my favorite conductor, so perhaps there is no small part of bias in my preference for him. It is particularly moving to hear him hum alongside Mimi and Rodolfo in La Boheme... but I digress.

edit: didn't get to Requiem, but I listened to Giulini's Te Deum... damn. Toscaninian in skill. If you're already predisposed to this conductor I can't see you not loving this piece.

Your heart may flat-line after reading this, but I feel it must be said. Out of all my years of listening to classical music (about 3 in total), I have never once got to listen to a Toscanini recording. And since I've been longing to listen Verdi's operas, I thought Toscanini's recordings would be the best starting place. I mean it was Toscanini's birthright to conduct Verdi. And based on what I've read about the 2 of them, they seem like they'd be the perfect match. However, I heard that his singers weren't the best. Is this true? Should I just go with someone like Karajan (my second choice) instead?

My favourite Verdi is Falstaff.

Yep, I love SMP by The Notorious JSB. It's just been a few years since I've popped a cap in its ass, so I gotta reload soon. Probably a 9/10 on my scale.

So your two favourite movies since 2000 are Inland Empire by Lynch (great entry but not a 9/10 in my list) and Requiem for a Dream (i still have to watch it). It would be immensely interesting to know your top 10 since 2000. I would add Mulholland Drive, In the Mood for Love, Broken Embraces, Eastern Promises, Gomorra...
How do u rank the wrestler and Let the right one in?

Thanks :) Inland Empire is the only 9/10 film I haven't revisited in the last year so it may or may not hold up anymore. Not sure...

And this list is pretty outdated (last updated in 2010). Here's my current list of the best 2000's and 2010's:

Inland Empire-Lynch (2006)

Memento-Nolan (2001)
Hero-Yimou (2002)
21 Grams-Inarritu (2003)
Old Boy-Chan-wook (2003)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-Gondry (2004)

Mulholland Drive-Lynch (2001)
The Duchess of Langeais-Rivette (2007)
The Tree of Life-Malick (2011)
Werckmeister Harmonies-Tarr (2000)
Synecdoche, New York-Kaufman (2008)
Time-Ki-duk (2006)
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring-Ki-duk (2003)
The Willow Tree-Majidi (2005)
Southland Tales-Kelly (2005)
The Science of Sleep-Gondry (2006)
The Beat That My Heart Skipped-Audiard (2005)
Cache-Haneke (2005)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives-Weerasethakul (2010)
Amelie-Jeunet (2001)
Amores Perros-Inarritu (2000)
Taxidermia-Palfi (2006)
The Lives of Others-Donnersmarck (2007)
Waltz With Bashir-Folman (2008)
2046-Kar Wai (2004)
Dogville-Von Trier (2003)
Adaptation-Jonze (2002)
Michael Clayton-Gilroy (2007)
Poetry-Chang-dong (2010)
Melancholia-Von Trier (2011)
No Country For Old Men-Coen (2007)
Requiem For A Dream-Aronofsky (2000)
The White Ribbon-Haneke (2009)

I don't think I've seen Let The Right One In. I rated The Wrestler 6-6.5/10.

Damn it, Aronofsky falls of 1,5 point! Anyway, as I said before, a very interesting list.

Thanks :)

NOTE: this list needs a bit of updating... several entries wouldn't hold today, many would... For current ratings/rankings, see my most updated "Greatest of All Time" lists for each category separately: "Classical", "Film", and "Rock & Jazz" ...

As for this one, I'll probably update it soon (paintings included), and try to keep it evolving from there...

Most astonishing recent discovery is the painting: The Last Judgement-Memling (1467) ... I've only been familiar with it for a day, but if my current opinion holds, it's probably one of the greatest (and seemingly under-recognized) works of art ever

Re: Memling's Last Judgement... Still great, though I've dropped it off the list (for now?). It's probably a high 8 or 8.5 -- maybe even still a low 9. I'll return to it again soon to be sure

Great update! Hope to see more soon!

Thanks :-) More on the way...

Recent changes in placement/new additions highlighted. The topmost 4 currently highlighted entries are all recent discoveries -- four of the greatest works of art in history. HIGHLY recommended for viewers that want to be completely awestruck.

The other recent discovery is "Manifest Destiny". Check that one out too. Check all of them out. Masterpieces of painting are absolutely on the order of those in music.

Tonight I discovered the painting: "Sabra and Shatila Massacre" by Di Al-Azzawi (1983). Right now it seems to be one of THE masterpieces of art of the last century, the closest painting has ever come to Twin Infinitives that I know of.

Recently discovered what is possibly the most astonishing work of art of the last 40 years (and possibly the only 9.5/10 work of the 2000's/2010's), now added above (9.4/10)...

Grey Matter 2 (Renovated Atrocities)-Vernon (2012)

And, yes, that really is a painting...

Scratch that (probably) ... Re-rated Grey Matter 2 (Renovated Atrocities)-Vernon (2012) to 8.9/10 ... After coming back to it and re-analyzing it, that seems more correct (for now?). Still under consideration, and could end up any where on my list, as it is still very new to me.

Also two incredible works by German Expressionist painter, Grosz, have now been added.

I'm really enjoying the updates on this über art list that would probably make scaruffi cream in his pants. I hope come around to Da Vinci. Are you one of those people that think his Mona Lisa is one of the top 5 paintings ever made? I am. There is a peculiar aura that permeates throughout Da Vinci's art that is impossible to describe. He was a supreme master of expression. With Da Vinci, more so than with any other artist, I can somehow sense what his art is about without even the slightest bit of background knowledge. This immediacy of his art, for me, is perhaps the reason why Da Vinci appeals to me more any other artist. It is expression laid bare. It is entrenched in symbolism and yet, through the mist, I can instinctively connect to it. Yet is endless in it's profound mysteriousness. I feel a ocean of meaning transmitting through that mysterious gaze of Mona Lisa's eyes. I think I could probably write an entire book on the eyes alone. And then there's the smile. Don't even get me started on that!

Also, I can't believe I never heard of Grosz, Vernon, Azzawi & Solimena until today. I guess that just illustrates how incomprehensive my knowledge of the painting world really is, whereas with music there is hardly a significant composer I haven't already read about.

Thanks, it has been an extraordinary experience -- highly rewarding just like music/film :)

I really like Da Vinci and his Mona Lisa is probably my favorite of his. I've considered it for this list quite a few times. That said, "Conservative", "still", "non-vibrant/non-colorful" religious paintings aren't my strongest point, and I've long wondered why Da Vinci is rated THAT highly (for the opposite of this, and more what I tend to favor, see Michelangelo, or Rubens or other great Baroque painters). Can you please give me some insight into Da Vinci and what I should be looking for as I analyze his works?

Azzawi and Vernon are practically unknown and I discovered them after lots of persistent searching through obscure forms of painting art and themes -- and a bit of luck -- on my journey down the rabbit hole. Grosz is only somewhat known -- probably very well known with German Expressionist schools/critics/fans. Solimena is fairly known, probably second or third tier in terms of popularity as far as Baroque painters. I'm really glad to have helped you pick these out, as running across them (especially Azzawi and Vernon), is highly unlikely.

That's funny, my reply is based on your comment before you edited it. Now you've answered my question, and I appreciate that. If you have any more to add...

"That's funny, my reply is based on your comment before you edited it."
lol i hate when that happens!

"If you have any more to add..."
I did read about the significant role of geometry in his work. The somewhat triangular shape of Mona Lisa's figure is repeated in the mountains behind her. The flowing contours of the aqueduct correspond to the drapery over her left shoulder. The jagged ripples of her sleeves parallel the jagged shapes of the rocks and mountains behind her. In a revealing passage in his notes about this painting, Leonardo did speak of the human body as a metaphor for the earth in which he compared flesh to soil, bones to rocks and blood to waterways - all of these land features are present in the landscape behind Mona. And that would explain the geometrical connections between Mona and the landscape behind her. The mistiness of the background creates a hazy, mysterious atmosphere that brings out the luminescence of Mona Lisa's skin, giving her a glowing, metaphysical energy. And the facial expression gives an all-embracing feeling to the viewer as if Mona Lisa is indeed the earth and everything is being transmitted through her mysterious and spellbinding expression. Mona Lisa is not merely a women in this painting. She is is being. She is everything. The more I gaze into her eyes the more I am captivated by the depths of Leonardo's genius. It is simply the most incredible portrait I've ever seen (easily a 9.7 or 9.8 for me - the equivalent of a 9.5 or 9.6 by your scale).

I'm not sure what else to add. If you don't sense the tremendous power of this painting, I'm not going to be able to show you it by telling you about it. Verbal explanations can only take a person so far. While they can be incitefull, nevertheless, they can only hint at the fundamental nature of an artwork. And that nature is truly intangible. And in that it can only be intuitively grasped subconsciously and our irresistible urge to bring it to the surface and dissect it in hopes of developing a concrete understating of this metaphysical nature, however enjoyable this process is, is ultimately of no avail, for the nature of art will always escape words. For me, art is a tease. It keeps you wondering about it to the very end and that's what makes it so great. Well that's just my opinion anyways.

As for Da Vinci. Maybe you'll develop a stronger connection with his art in the future. Opinions can evolve over time. Just have patience.

Now we're talking! Thanks! With that in mind, I'll re-analyze soon and see what I think. I won't be surprised if his ranking improves for me. I was just re-viewing the Last Supper a couple days ago and considered it for my list. When I keep coming back to an artist there's usually an innate reason for it that fully reveals itself sooner or later :-)

Just out of curiosity, do you plan on making a separate extended list for paintings as you have done with other art mediums?

Yep :-) Soon...

You're absolutely right about Mona Lisa. I was endlessly mesmerized and totally immersed in its poetry and the nostalgic enigma of it last night. A masterpiece for sure.

That's great!

Apparently Grosz is less known than I realized...

GENERAL NOTE: As is always the case when I really get going on evaluating an art form, I am going through a steep evolution in my own analysis/insight into paintings, so bear with me during this period of frequent changes before things become more stable and positioned. Anything I put on this list, whether it sticks in a high position or not, whether it remains on my list or not, comes highly recommended.

Great new additions (Chirico, Schiele, El Greco). While I admire the boldness of this list I have some difficulties with the boldness of some your choices. Kusturica's Underground is the 3rd greatest achievement in cinema?? Above all Dreyer, Ozu, Renoir, Kubrick, Godard, Kurosawa, Cassavetes? And above every single work by Mozart (the only Bach composition that surpasses it is the Mass in B minor?!). Also, I think Verdi's Requiem is very overrated here. Not even in the top 3 requiems for me, let alone top 3 classical compositions. Also surprised to see Schubert's 9th so high and then not even one of his piano works listed. Anyway, great job on this. There are so many different masterpieces piled up here even the list seems artistic.

Thanks, it's all subjective and not intended as an objective list. I absolutely do feel Underground is that high, above all those other works. It transcends through a staggering variety of themes/emotions. Realize that the classical portion is not nearly complete/updated, though it is sporadically in-progress. Bach may have a few other works to give the likes of Underground and other 9.3+ a run for their money (such as St Matthew Passion ... perhaps Goldberg Varitions, Art of the Fugue...), but I still have to re-visit those -- it's been a few years for each. Re: Verdi's Requiem ... don't know what to tell you... i find it to be one of the most overwhelming and emotionally powerful works ever, which is the basis of my rating.

I inevitably run into other visual arts while researching paintings, so I've now started tracking the ones that I rate highly, especially necessary because they're often obscure. (See above, listed below paintings under consideration)

Recently discovered two STAGGERING supreme masterpieces of art, the tapestry: Allegory of the Prisoner's Dilemma-Laurel Roth & Andy Diaz Hope (2012) (VERY obscure), and possibly Klimt's most incredible masterpiece (which is saying something!): his Vienna Ceiling Paintings (destroyed by soldiers in the war in 1945).

Also, a very obscure collage, a masterpiece by virtual unknown Christopher Ilth, has been added.

Just added what could be the greatest "painting" in all of art history (series of 20 paintings), Alphonse Mucha's Slav Epic. It's not very well known, and is pretty difficult to find as a whole series.

Available in its entirety here...

Prepare to drop your jaw... :)

How do you search for paintings?

Google/yahoo mainly. When I come upon something obscure it's usually after first finding a more well known work I was intentionally trying to find so I could analyze it (such as Van Gogh's Starry Night), then looking through "similar artists", or "similar paintings" or "artists Van Gogh influenced" or "artists that influenced Van Gogh" etc... and just looking and looking until I find (or don't find) other great paintings worthy of inclusion.

When I find a painting I am interested in enough to analyze, this would involve reading about it (art sites, wikipedia, etc) and bringing up a large image of it, then zoomings in to the picture and perusing over it's figures/elements piece by piece and evaluating the meaning/emotion of these individually and as a whole, alternately zooming in, then zooming out, until I've drawn an overall conception of it.

Addtionally I often deliberately search through different styles such as "baroque paintings" or "renaissance paintings", or "surrealist paintings", "German Expressionist paintings", etc... and, here and there, down a rabbit hole of increasingly lesser known artists, will sometimes find something totally extraordinary

I re-titled the painting "The City" by Grosz (see 9.2/10's) to "Metropolis". In some places on the internet it's titled "The City". In more, it's titled "Metropolis". In others, "The City" refers to a much smaller, less impressive painting, and occasionally this same painting is called "Metropolis". Geez! Wikipedia refers to each "The City" and "Metropolis" separately in Grosz's short bio on there, but doesn't offer links to either so as to see the difference. So I'm not sure which one it really is, or maybe "The City" and "Metropolis" translate the same in German to English? And wiki is unknowingly listing the same painting twice?

If anyone knows, please clue me in. Definitely want to have one of the greatest works ever correctly titled so it's not confused as anything else.

In case there was any confusion, here is the Grosz painting I am ranking as a 9.2/10:

If you haven't been already, I urge you to check out all the paintings/visual art works on this list. Including those "under consideration" below the list, as these are each possible masterpieces (and probably 8/10+ at least).

I have been rendered completely speechless in my discovery, analysis and assimilation of the works on this list (and others yet to be added).

Also, of note: the 20th century is VASTLY underrated as regards paintings. It is my opinion (and nothing more) that art historians/painting buffs exclusively focused on the 15th-18th centuries (and thinking that's where most/all masterpieces reside) are indeed experiencing many great works of art, but also limiting their potential scope of experience and how many different, extraordinary ways artists have transcended the form.

During my research into paintings, I've discovered Werner Tubke, a German painter, who is probably among the greatest artists who ever lived, yet internet search engines are absolutely horrible for tracking down his paintings. I simply can't believe how disorganized they are, how few of his paintings are even titled at all, and how few are available -- especially considering how highly regarded he is to more "serious" art experts.

I am asking for someone's help in tracking down the following paintings:

"Lebenserinnerungen des Dr. jur. Schulze" (The Life Memories of Judge Schulze)

It is apparently a seven part series of paintings Tubke did as a collective, one whole work. It seems like only 3 of the 7 are even talked about and available as images on google/yahoo/bing (2, 3, & 7) -- and even those are confusing to search for. Based on those 3, it is probable this is one of the greatest works of art in history (probably those 3 parts alone are already 9/10 collectively). This also means I am incredibly frustrated that I can't seem to find the rest of the work.

All tolled, I've spent several hours trying to find out about this work and still come up short. If you can track 1, 4, 5, & 6 down -- any or all of them, or have any info that may help, please please PLEASE let me know. There is no other work of art I want to track down than this one right now.

Hello, I've been a lurker here for some time and I like your lists.

I see that you, like Scaruffi, put Toccata & Fugue in D Minor by Bach in your lists. But Scaruffi doesn't recommend any recordings for it (and other Bach organ works.) Is there any recording for this and other organ works by Bach that you would recommend? I was thinking of getting Helmut Walcha's mono boxset. Have you heard it? Is it any good?

User HexNash really digs Walcha so I'd try asking him. I haven't heard his version yet. In the meantime, I really like this one:

Not sure if it's the very best or not, but it's amazing nonetheless :)

Thanks for the recommendation.
I've done a bit of comparing between different versions now on youtube (the one you linked to, 2 Walcha versions, and one by Peter Hurford.) And I think the one I prefer is indeed the 1947 Walcha recording (this one: )
But the ones I heard are all good. It's just such an intense piece of music :)

Thanks! Unfortunately, the video is unavailable when I link to it but one of these days I've gotta give Walcha some listens.