They’re so irritating, those lists

After 1001 Books (2006), 1001 Films (2004) and 1001 Albums (2006), it is now time for:

1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die (2007) – Stephen Farthing
[FR] [DE] [UK]

They’re so irritating, those lists of the best ten paintings, the best five novels… It’s ludicrous: if you’re ever in a position where your options are so reduced then the chances are you won’t have any choice. OK, you might be torn between which books to take on a long flight or for a weekend in the country but, asked to choose in some definitive way between Tolstoy or Dostoevsky the only reasonable response is “both”. Likewise, if you’re forced to choose just ten great paintings then what is at stake is probably not your personal preference but the fate of art and civilisation itself. –Geoff Dyer via

Does anyone have a digital list of the painting entries?

Related: paintinggreatnessvisual artslists

See also: 1001 Books (2006)1001 Films (2004)1001 Albums (2006)

1 thought on “They’re so irritating, those lists

  1. suburbanlife

    JJan – at 19 I was overwhelmed when gazing at Gericault’s “The Raft of the Medusa”, for what may have seemed to be hours, in the Louvre. Whether or not this painting may have made it onto any sort of list, it still is a painting I am glad to have “seen” before I die. But I have seen many paintings during my lifetime which may never make any of these lists compiled by curators and other cognoscenti, and some of these have been marvels, in my mind. I prefer the browsing method to finding value for myself, not a shopping list compiled by others. Makes the experiential stew much richer, in my opinion.


    I know what you mean regarding ” the browsing method ” but what about the African or Thai village inhabitant? Where can he browse?


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