Visitors at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France crowding to see Leonardo da Vinci's “Mona Lisa” Thomas Ricker/Flickr

With access to museums and galleries restricted since the COVID-19 pandemic started, millions around the world have resorted to the internet to quell their thirst for fine art. So what major artworks have they been Googling since the virus took hold of the globe last year? A new study has the answers.

Using the online analytics tool Ahrefs, the arts and crafts tutorials website mined the 10 most Googled paintings in the world in 2020. Based on data from 155 different countries, the company quantified the average global search volume of each painting per month.

The list consists of famous masterpieces from the Western canon of art history. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” ranks first among the most searched paintings of last year with over one million online searches on average each month. Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” comes second, with almost half the monthly average search volume (454,500). In third is da Vinci’s Last Supper (343,000).

Grant Wood, “American Gothic” (1930) (via Wikimedia Commons)

The ranking continues with other ubiquitous masterpieces by Western artists like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (1893), Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” (1930), and Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” (c. 1508–1512).

The list is noticeably white and male, a damning testament to the historical marginalization of women and artists of color in Western art. Even immensely popular artists like Frida Kahlo and Hilma af Klint don’t make it to the top 10. 

See the full lists of 10 most Googled paintings in 2020 here (the figures represent the monthly average number of global online searches):

  • Leonardo da Vinci, “Mona Lisa” (c. 1503–19) (1,024,000 views monthly)
  • Pablo Picasso, “Guernica” (1937) (454,500 views monthly)
  • Leonardo da Vinci, “The Last Supper” (1495–1498) (343,000 views monthly)
  • Edvard Munch, “The Scream” (1893) (241,000 views monthly)
  • Diego Velázquez , “Las Meninas” (1656) (140,000 views monthly)
  • Grant Wood, “American Gothic” (1930) (136,000 views monthly)
  • Michelangelo, “Creation of Adam” (c. 1508–1512) (105,150 views monthly)
  • Johannes Vermeer, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (1665) (86,000 views monthly)
  • Salvador Dali, “The Persistence of Memory” (1931) (78,400 views monthly)
  • Hieronymus Bosch, “The Garden of Earthly  Delights” (1503–1515) (58,000 views monthly)

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Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...