Mysterious bullet hole through Jesus Christ found on painting of The Last Supper.

A modern painting of The Last Supper has been discovered with a bullet hole through the figure of Jesus Christ.

In pictures shown exclusively by The Independent, the damage is clearly seen on the three-and-a-half metre tall canvas by Lorna May Wadsworth.

The bullet hole was discovered as the painting was being prepared for display at the Graves Gallery in Sheffield. It had previously been on display behind the altar of a Gloucestershire country church for a decade.

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The bullet hole was later confirmed by ballistics experts to have come from an air rifle.

Wadsworth refashioned the biblical scene by modelling Jesus Christ on the Jamaican-born model Tafari Hinds.

(The damage to Lorna May Wadsworth’s painting of The Last Supper)

Commenting on the damage to her painting, the artist said in a statement: “Initially, when I first saw the damage, I was so upset that I considered pulling the painting from the exhibition. However, it was also very important to me that whoever did the damage didn’t ‘win’.”

She added that the position of the bullet hole, on Jesus’s right side, had caused some to speculate whether it was supposed to be representative of the final wound he sustained from a Roman lance while hanging on the cross. When asked whether there could be a possible racist motive behind the damage, Wadsworth commented: “I hope it was just mindless vandalism as the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.”

The East London-based artist began work on the painting in 2008, after being commissioned by a parishioner in Gloucestershire. She had previously described the significance of The Last Supper as one of “love and betrayal”, which are “part of the human experience”.

Top artworks and where to see them

Show all 30

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (c.1503) at The Louvre, Paris
Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (c.1665) at the Mauritshuis in The Hague
Peter Doig's Blotter (1993) at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus (1485-1486) at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Top artworks and where to see them

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (c.1503) at The Louvre, Paris

1/30 Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (c.1503) at The Louvre, Paris

It's the mysteriously serene smile of this painting's subject – thought to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine fabric merchant – that has given it universal fame. The portrait's small size – it measures 77 x 53 cm – can still be a surprise to those jostling for a glimpse of it, but it is the earliest Italian portrait to focus so closely on the sitter in a half-length portrait.

RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre Museum)

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (c.1665) at the Mauritshuis in The Hague

2/30 Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (c.1665) at the Mauritshuis in The Hague

As she looks around with her slightly parted lips, you can’t help but wonder what this painting's sitter is about to say. There is an almost photorealist quality to this painting of an anonymous girl with a pearl earring – immortalised by Scarlett Johannson in the 2003 film. Vermeer, the Dutch Golden Age painter, died impoverished – he only painted two or three paintings a year because he worked so slowly, and the world forgot about his work until it was rediscovered in the 19th century.

Peter Doig's Blotter (1993) at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

3/30 Peter Doig's Blotter (1993) at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

There is something so tranquil and magical about Doig's paintings. This purple-hued work from a family snapshot is of his brother standing on a frozen pond and looking down into the reflection. Images reflected in water are common in his work – as seen in White Canoe (1991) and Echo Lake (2000) – and function as “entrances to other worlds".

National Museums Liverpool Collection

Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus (1485-1486) at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

4/30 Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus (1485-1486) at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

The Renaissance painting is the highlight of the Uffizi in Florence for good reason – it's a triumphant celebration of female beauty. Venus, with her long flowing hair, has been blown by the gentle breeze onto the shore of Cyprus and balances on a giant scallop shell. A young woman, thought to be Hora of spring or one of the graces, holds out a cloak covered in flowers.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508) in Vatican City

5/30 Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508) in Vatican City

This breathtaking sequence of scenes from the Book of Genesis covers the ceiling of one of the chapels in the Vatican, and includes Michelangelo's best known fresco of the Creation of Adam. The Italian Renaissance painter was commissioned to paint it in 1508 by Pope Julius 11 – he even designed his own scaffold to paint up so high.

Gustav Klimt's The Kiss (1907-1908) at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

6/30 Gustav Klimt's The Kiss (1907-1908) at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

Nothing can be as irresistibly romantic as Klimt’s oil painting, which shimmers with gold leaf and depicts two lovers entwined in a loving embrace. Both wear patterned robes which reference the contemporary style of Art Nouveau and the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. It is a departure from the artist’s usual portrayal of woman as the femme fatale.

Belvedere

Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise (1872) at The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

7/30 Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise (1872) at The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

It is easy to get lost for hours in the calmness of Monet’s hazy scene of the port of Le Havre, with a rising red sun casting shadows onto small boats. When it was first shown in a group show in Paris in 1874, the painting that gave Impressionism its name was criticised for looking unfinished.

Hokurai's The Great Wave (1829-1832) at The British Museum, London

8/30 Hokurai's The Great Wave (1829-1832) at The British Museum, London

There is something seductively dangerous about this enormous, claw-like wave, that is about to break and engulf three fishing boats off Kanagawa in Japan. The woodblock print is the first in the Japanese artist’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. It is one of the most famous Japanese artworks in the world.

Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night (1889) at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

9/30 Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night (1889) at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Van Gogh painted this night sky from a view from his room at the Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Remy, France, where he was admitted for mental illness after cutting off his own ear. With its intense swirling patterns, van Gogh manages to conjure up a whirling vista above a sleepy village, with the crescent moon, stars, Venus and orbs.

The Museum of Modern Art

Rembrandt van Rijn's The Night Watch (1642) at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

10/30 Rembrandt van Rijn's The Night Watch (1642) at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This militia painting threw formality out of the window with its sense of movement and action. Rembrandt even painted himself hidden in the scene, which depicts Captain Banning Cocq and 17 members of his civic militia guards – all of whom commissioned the painting. Rembrandt puts a spotlight on the main characters with his trademark use of light and shadow, including a woman carrying a chicken.

Theodore Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) at The Louvre, Paris

11/30 Theodore Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) at The Louvre, Paris

This lifesize painting, which measures about 16 feet by 23.5 feet, almost takes you with it on its doomed journey. The then-27-year-old Gericault drew inspiration from a real tragedy of men aboard a French naval frigate in 1816. Only 10 of the 150 men who boarded the raft lived. It is regarded as an icon of Romanticism for its emotive composition and interest in the natural world.

Tracey Emin's I Could Feel You (2014) at Tate Britain, London

12/30 Tracey Emin's I Could Feel You (2014) at Tate Britain, London

The Young British Artist is better known for her installations such as My Bed (1998) but it is no surprise that her paintings also hint at being candidly autobiographical in her examination of the female body. This is one of six related works on paper, each with a sensual title (Just Waiting, Stay Up, All for You), which is painted in black gouache.

Tracey Emin

Mt St Victoire, Cezanne (c.1895) at Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey

13/30 Mt St Victoire, Cezanne (c.1895) at Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey

Post-Impressionist painter Cezanne, with his bold, flat use of colour, painted the mountains in southern France overlooking his hometown Aix-en-Provence many times. His new ways of depicting perspective by simplifying objects to planes and geometric shapes was a big influence on the later Cubists, especially Picasso, who called him “my only master”.

Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection

Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

14/30 Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Picasso used geometric forms to portray the female body in this striking painting of five nude sex workers in a brothel in Barcelona. His new style kick-started Cubism, a movement that he and Georges Braque invented and which resulted in abstract and fragmented paintings.

AFP/Getty

Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-1923) at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

15/30 Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-1923) at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

Duchamp’s bizarre artwork, that he declared as “permanently unfinished”, is meant to evoke the erotic tension between the bride and the bachelors. Known as The Large Glass, as it is over nine feet, it comrpises two shattered glass panels suspended vertically, which contain a mechanical-like bride, a large shape that references the Milky Way, nine bachelors in geometric shapes and mechanical objects, all painted in oil to give it colour.

Gaby Av

Andy warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Andy Warhol at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

16/30 Andy warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Andy Warhol at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

This artwork, which consisted of 32 canvases, each painted with a Campbell soup can in different flavour, helped to introduce pop art as a major art movement in the US. It led to many more works depicting Campbell Soup cans over his career – ones with torn labels or opened lids, many being produced at The Factory, where studio assistants created them for him.

Wally Gobetz

Bosch's The Garden of Earthy Delights (1503-1515) at Museo del Prado, Madrid

17/30 Bosch's The Garden of Earthy Delights (1503-1515) at Museo del Prado, Madrid

The central panel of this extraordinary triptych oil painting on oak panel shows a manic utopia of male and female nudes cavorting with wild abandon, often with animals. The left panel shows Christ blessing Eve before she is presented to Adam while the right panel illustrates Hell. It is likely this work, by the Danish artist Bosch, is a warning against lust.

Museo del Prado

Jasper Johns's Flag (1954-1955) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

18/30 Jasper Johns's Flag (1954-1955) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

The American artist dreamt he painted a large American flag and got on with it promptly the next morning. Now it is the painting for which he is best known, painted over strips of newspaper visible beneath the see-through paint, locating the painting in the McCarthy era and at the beginning of the Cold War.

EPA

Damien Hirst's Anthraquinone-1-Diazonium Chloride (1994) at Tate Liverpool

19/30 Damien Hirst's Anthraquinone-1-Diazonium Chloride (1994) at Tate Liverpool

This famous example of a Spot Painting – rows of randomly coloured circles – was produced by Hirst’s assistants. The artist produced about 60 Spot Paintings a year from 1986 to 2011. For Hirst, who is reportedly now the UK's richest living artist, they were just “a way of pinning down the joy of colour”.

Salvador Dal's The Persistence of Memory (1931) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

20/30 Salvador Dal's The Persistence of Memory (1931) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Time and space have a hallucinatory quality in this instantly recognisable surrealist painting of melting watches. The human face, visible on an abstract form, with its long eyelashes, represents Dali. This painting was fuelled by the artist's interest in the dream analysis of Sigmund Freud, and made him a star at the age of 28.

Getty

Lucien Freud's Girl with a White Dog(1951) at Tate, London

21/30 Lucien Freud's Girl with a White Dog(1951) at Tate, London

Freud was known for his psychologically complex figurative portraits, and this painting of his first wife Kitty Garman, who was pregnant at the time of the sitting, is no exception. The artist manages to reveal a multitude of emotions in the composition. He painted her many times during their short marriage, which ended in divorce in 1952, due to his many infidelities.

Getty

Edvard Munch's The Scream (1893) at The National Museum, Oslo from 2020

22/30 Edvard Munch's The Scream (1893) at The National Museum, Oslo from 2020

This painting came about when Munch was overcome by fear and anxiety during a walk with two friends, and “the sky suddenly turned to red”. The location was in earshot of his sister’s lunatic asylum, but it is said to capture the universal anxiety of modern man. It is currently waiting to be rehoused in the new National Museum in Oslo.

Nasjonalmuseet

John Henry Fuseli's The Nightmare (1781) at Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan

23/30 John Henry Fuseli's The Nightmare (1781) at Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan

This sexually charged painting of a woman lying across a bed, as a demonic creature crouches on her chest, has been an icon of horror, ever since it was first exhibited at the annual RA exhibition in 1782. Is she having a nightmare? Is it referencing Fuseli’s own love life? Or is it about female desire? The artwork created shock and intrigue in its day and made Fuseli famous.

Detroit Institute of Arts

Bridget Riley's Nataraja (1993) at Tate Modern, London

24/30 Bridget Riley's Nataraja (1993) at Tate Modern, London

When Bridget Riley first created her black and white abstract paintings in the 1960s – known as op art – the images seemed to actually move. The brightly coloured diagonal stripes in this later painting, inspired by a trip to India, also creates a sense of movement. She created it on paper in gouache, before handing it over to her studio assistants, to transfer it onto canvas.

Tate

Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

25/30 Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Pollock had already created his first "drip painting" in 1947, sending shockwaves through the art world. The technique, which involved painting on a canvas laid flat on the floor and pouring, dripping, even splattering paint onto it – with a degree of control – is at its peak in Autumn Rhythm, which is evocative of nature. He died in a car crash aged 44 in 1956.

Met Museum

Édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1862) at the Musee d’Orsay, Paris

26/30 Édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1862) at the Musee d’Orsay, Paris

This painting caused a scandal when it was first exhibited in Paris in 1863. The scene of a naked woman having a picnic with two fully clothed men is still jarring. But in Manet’s day, female nudes usually represented figures from mythology, like goddesses. This painting, which places the nude in an everyday setting, was a departure point for Modern Art as Manet refused to toe the line.

RMN (Musée d'Orsay)/Hervé Lewandowski

Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940) at Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

27/30 Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940) at Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

The Mexican surrealist artist found painting self-portraits therapeutic. This one reveals her suffering; her long lasting pain after a bus accident; her infertility; her divorce from artist Diego Rivera and the end of her affair with photographer Nikolas Muray. Bursting with symbolism from Mexican folklore, it is a jigsaw puzzle of meaning.

AFP/Getty

Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas (1656) at Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

28/30 Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas (1656) at Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

The leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age captures himself working on a large canvas in this realistic portrayal of the Spanish court, where he was court painter. The young princess Infanta Margarita Theresa is surrounded by servants, while her parents King Philip 1V of Spain and Mariana of Austria, watch the scene from a doorway. It holds plenty of mystery as to the relationship between the viewer and the characters depicted. For example, does the mirror reflect the hidden picture on the easel?

Henri Matisse's Conversation (1908-1912) at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

29/30 Henri Matisse's Conversation (1908-1912) at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

What are they talking about? It looks serious. Matisse’s oil painting depicts the artist and his wife Amelie in conversation against an intense sapphire blue colour. Matisse wears striped pyjamas, which were fashionable as leisurewear in 20th century France. It was painted in his country house, and there is a tension in the way his wife sits – understandable, given that he reportedly once told her that he loved painting more than her.

Gandalf's Gallery

Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia (1851-1852) at Tate Britain, London

30/30 Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia (1851-1852) at Tate Britain, London

A drowning Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is slowly sinking into the stream. The Pre-Raphaelite artist recreated, with breathtaking attention to detail, the consequence of Hamlet’s murder of her father. His 19-year old model, Lizzie Siddal, nearly died of a cold from lying in a bath fully clothed for hours, long after oil lamps used to keep the bath water warm went out. The artist did not notice but ended up paying her doctor’s bills.

John Everett Millais

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (c.1503) at The Louvre, Paris

1/30 Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (c.1503) at The Louvre, Paris

It's the mysteriously serene smile of this painting's subject – thought to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine fabric merchant – that has given it universal fame. The portrait's small size – it measures 77 x 53 cm – can still be a surprise to those jostling for a glimpse of it, but it is the earliest Italian portrait to focus so closely on the sitter in a half-length portrait.

RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre Museum)

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (c.1665) at the Mauritshuis in The Hague

2/30 Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (c.1665) at the Mauritshuis in The Hague

As she looks around with her slightly parted lips, you can’t help but wonder what this painting's sitter is about to say. There is an almost photorealist quality to this painting of an anonymous girl with a pearl earring – immortalised by Scarlett Johannson in the 2003 film. Vermeer, the Dutch Golden Age painter, died impoverished – he only painted two or three paintings a year because he worked so slowly, and the world forgot about his work until it was rediscovered in the 19th century.

Peter Doig's Blotter (1993) at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

3/30 Peter Doig's Blotter (1993) at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

There is something so tranquil and magical about Doig's paintings. This purple-hued work from a family snapshot is of his brother standing on a frozen pond and looking down into the reflection. Images reflected in water are common in his work – as seen in White Canoe (1991) and Echo Lake (2000) – and function as “entrances to other worlds".

National Museums Liverpool Collection

Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus (1485-1486) at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

4/30 Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus (1485-1486) at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

The Renaissance painting is the highlight of the Uffizi in Florence for good reason – it's a triumphant celebration of female beauty. Venus, with her long flowing hair, has been blown by the gentle breeze onto the shore of Cyprus and balances on a giant scallop shell. A young woman, thought to be Hora of spring or one of the graces, holds out a cloak covered in flowers.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508) in Vatican City

5/30 Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508) in Vatican City

This breathtaking sequence of scenes from the Book of Genesis covers the ceiling of one of the chapels in the Vatican, and includes Michelangelo's best known fresco of the Creation of Adam. The Italian Renaissance painter was commissioned to paint it in 1508 by Pope Julius 11 – he even designed his own scaffold to paint up so high.

Gustav Klimt's The Kiss (1907-1908) at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

6/30 Gustav Klimt's The Kiss (1907-1908) at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

Nothing can be as irresistibly romantic as Klimt’s oil painting, which shimmers with gold leaf and depicts two lovers entwined in a loving embrace. Both wear patterned robes which reference the contemporary style of Art Nouveau and the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. It is a departure from the artist’s usual portrayal of woman as the femme fatale.

Belvedere

Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise (1872) at The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

7/30 Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise (1872) at The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

It is easy to get lost for hours in the calmness of Monet’s hazy scene of the port of Le Havre, with a rising red sun casting shadows onto small boats. When it was first shown in a group show in Paris in 1874, the painting that gave Impressionism its name was criticised for looking unfinished.

Hokurai's The Great Wave (1829-1832) at The British Museum, London

8/30 Hokurai's The Great Wave (1829-1832) at The British Museum, London

There is something seductively dangerous about this enormous, claw-like wave, that is about to break and engulf three fishing boats off Kanagawa in Japan. The woodblock print is the first in the Japanese artist’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. It is one of the most famous Japanese artworks in the world.

Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night (1889) at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

9/30 Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night (1889) at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Van Gogh painted this night sky from a view from his room at the Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Remy, France, where he was admitted for mental illness after cutting off his own ear. With its intense swirling patterns, van Gogh manages to conjure up a whirling vista above a sleepy village, with the crescent moon, stars, Venus and orbs.

The Museum of Modern Art

Rembrandt van Rijn's The Night Watch (1642) at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

10/30 Rembrandt van Rijn's The Night Watch (1642) at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This militia painting threw formality out of the window with its sense of movement and action. Rembrandt even painted himself hidden in the scene, which depicts Captain Banning Cocq and 17 members of his civic militia guards – all of whom commissioned the painting. Rembrandt puts a spotlight on the main characters with his trademark use of light and shadow, including a woman carrying a chicken.

Theodore Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) at The Louvre, Paris

11/30 Theodore Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) at The Louvre, Paris

This lifesize painting, which measures about 16 feet by 23.5 feet, almost takes you with it on its doomed journey. The then-27-year-old Gericault drew inspiration from a real tragedy of men aboard a French naval frigate in 1816. Only 10 of the 150 men who boarded the raft lived. It is regarded as an icon of Romanticism for its emotive composition and interest in the natural world.

Tracey Emin's I Could Feel You (2014) at Tate Britain, London

12/30 Tracey Emin's I Could Feel You (2014) at Tate Britain, London

The Young British Artist is better known for her installations such as My Bed (1998) but it is no surprise that her paintings also hint at being candidly autobiographical in her examination of the female body. This is one of six related works on paper, each with a sensual title (Just Waiting, Stay Up, All for You), which is painted in black gouache.

Tracey Emin

Mt St Victoire, Cezanne (c.1895) at Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey

13/30 Mt St Victoire, Cezanne (c.1895) at Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey

Post-Impressionist painter Cezanne, with his bold, flat use of colour, painted the mountains in southern France overlooking his hometown Aix-en-Provence many times. His new ways of depicting perspective by simplifying objects to planes and geometric shapes was a big influence on the later Cubists, especially Picasso, who called him “my only master”.

Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection

Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

14/30 Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Picasso used geometric forms to portray the female body in this striking painting of five nude sex workers in a brothel in Barcelona. His new style kick-started Cubism, a movement that he and Georges Braque invented and which resulted in abstract and fragmented paintings.

AFP/Getty

Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-1923) at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

15/30 Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-1923) at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

Duchamp’s bizarre artwork, that he declared as “permanently unfinished”, is meant to evoke the erotic tension between the bride and the bachelors. Known as The Large Glass, as it is over nine feet, it comrpises two shattered glass panels suspended vertically, which contain a mechanical-like bride, a large shape that references the Milky Way, nine bachelors in geometric shapes and mechanical objects, all painted in oil to give it colour.

Gaby Av

Andy warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Andy Warhol at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

16/30 Andy warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Andy Warhol at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

This artwork, which consisted of 32 canvases, each painted with a Campbell soup can in different flavour, helped to introduce pop art as a major art movement in the US. It led to many more works depicting Campbell Soup cans over his career – ones with torn labels or opened lids, many being produced at The Factory, where studio assistants created them for him.

Wally Gobetz

Bosch's The Garden of Earthy Delights (1503-1515) at Museo del Prado, Madrid

17/30 Bosch's The Garden of Earthy Delights (1503-1515) at Museo del Prado, Madrid

The central panel of this extraordinary triptych oil painting on oak panel shows a manic utopia of male and female nudes cavorting with wild abandon, often with animals. The left panel shows Christ blessing Eve before she is presented to Adam while the right panel illustrates Hell. It is likely this work, by the Danish artist Bosch, is a warning against lust.

Museo del Prado

Jasper Johns's Flag (1954-1955) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

18/30 Jasper Johns's Flag (1954-1955) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

The American artist dreamt he painted a large American flag and got on with it promptly the next morning. Now it is the painting for which he is best known, painted over strips of newspaper visible beneath the see-through paint, locating the painting in the McCarthy era and at the beginning of the Cold War.

EPA

Damien Hirst's Anthraquinone-1-Diazonium Chloride (1994) at Tate Liverpool

19/30 Damien Hirst's Anthraquinone-1-Diazonium Chloride (1994) at Tate Liverpool

This famous example of a Spot Painting – rows of randomly coloured circles – was produced by Hirst’s assistants. The artist produced about 60 Spot Paintings a year from 1986 to 2011. For Hirst, who is reportedly now the UK's richest living artist, they were just “a way of pinning down the joy of colour”.

Salvador Dal's The Persistence of Memory (1931) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

20/30 Salvador Dal's The Persistence of Memory (1931) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Time and space have a hallucinatory quality in this instantly recognisable surrealist painting of melting watches. The human face, visible on an abstract form, with its long eyelashes, represents Dali. This painting was fuelled by the artist's interest in the dream analysis of Sigmund Freud, and made him a star at the age of 28.

Getty

Lucien Freud's Girl with a White Dog(1951) at Tate, London

21/30 Lucien Freud's Girl with a White Dog(1951) at Tate, London

Freud was known for his psychologically complex figurative portraits, and this painting of his first wife Kitty Garman, who was pregnant at the time of the sitting, is no exception. The artist manages to reveal a multitude of emotions in the composition. He painted her many times during their short marriage, which ended in divorce in 1952, due to his many infidelities.

Getty

Edvard Munch's The Scream (1893) at The National Museum, Oslo from 2020

22/30 Edvard Munch's The Scream (1893) at The National Museum, Oslo from 2020

This painting came about when Munch was overcome by fear and anxiety during a walk with two friends, and “the sky suddenly turned to red”. The location was in earshot of his sister’s lunatic asylum, but it is said to capture the universal anxiety of modern man. It is currently waiting to be rehoused in the new National Museum in Oslo.

Nasjonalmuseet

John Henry Fuseli's The Nightmare (1781) at Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan

23/30 John Henry Fuseli's The Nightmare (1781) at Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan

This sexually charged painting of a woman lying across a bed, as a demonic creature crouches on her chest, has been an icon of horror, ever since it was first exhibited at the annual RA exhibition in 1782. Is she having a nightmare? Is it referencing Fuseli’s own love life? Or is it about female desire? The artwork created shock and intrigue in its day and made Fuseli famous.

Detroit Institute of Arts

Bridget Riley's Nataraja (1993) at Tate Modern, London

24/30 Bridget Riley's Nataraja (1993) at Tate Modern, London

When Bridget Riley first created her black and white abstract paintings in the 1960s – known as op art – the images seemed to actually move. The brightly coloured diagonal stripes in this later painting, inspired by a trip to India, also creates a sense of movement. She created it on paper in gouache, before handing it over to her studio assistants, to transfer it onto canvas.

Tate

Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

25/30 Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Pollock had already created his first "drip painting" in 1947, sending shockwaves through the art world. The technique, which involved painting on a canvas laid flat on the floor and pouring, dripping, even splattering paint onto it – with a degree of control – is at its peak in Autumn Rhythm, which is evocative of nature. He died in a car crash aged 44 in 1956.

Met Museum

Édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1862) at the Musee d’Orsay, Paris

26/30 Édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1862) at the Musee d’Orsay, Paris

This painting caused a scandal when it was first exhibited in Paris in 1863. The scene of a naked woman having a picnic with two fully clothed men is still jarring. But in Manet’s day, female nudes usually represented figures from mythology, like goddesses. This painting, which places the nude in an everyday setting, was a departure point for Modern Art as Manet refused to toe the line.

RMN (Musée d'Orsay)/Hervé Lewandowski

Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940) at Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

27/30 Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940) at Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

The Mexican surrealist artist found painting self-portraits therapeutic. This one reveals her suffering; her long lasting pain after a bus accident; her infertility; her divorce from artist Diego Rivera and the end of her affair with photographer Nikolas Muray. Bursting with symbolism from Mexican folklore, it is a jigsaw puzzle of meaning.

AFP/Getty

Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas (1656) at Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

28/30 Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas (1656) at Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

The leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age captures himself working on a large canvas in this realistic portrayal of the Spanish court, where he was court painter. The young princess Infanta Margarita Theresa is surrounded by servants, while her parents King Philip 1V of Spain and Mariana of Austria, watch the scene from a doorway. It holds plenty of mystery as to the relationship between the viewer and the characters depicted. For example, does the mirror reflect the hidden picture on the easel?

Henri Matisse's Conversation (1908-1912) at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

29/30 Henri Matisse's Conversation (1908-1912) at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

What are they talking about? It looks serious. Matisse’s oil painting depicts the artist and his wife Amelie in conversation against an intense sapphire blue colour. Matisse wears striped pyjamas, which were fashionable as leisurewear in 20th century France. It was painted in his country house, and there is a tension in the way his wife sits – understandable, given that he reportedly once told her that he loved painting more than her.

Gandalf's Gallery

Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia (1851-1852) at Tate Britain, London

30/30 Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia (1851-1852) at Tate Britain, London

A drowning Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is slowly sinking into the stream. The Pre-Raphaelite artist recreated, with breathtaking attention to detail, the consequence of Hamlet’s murder of her father. His 19-year old model, Lizzie Siddal, nearly died of a cold from lying in a bath fully clothed for hours, long after oil lamps used to keep the bath water warm went out. The artist did not notice but ended up paying her doctor’s bills.

John Everett Millais

The Graves Gallery is hosting a retrospective of Wadsworth’s work titled GAZE in her home town of Sheffield. The gallery has confirmed the exhibition will be held regardless, saying in a statement: “We very much look forward to opening the exhibition as planned on Saturday.”

Also on display will be her portrait of David Blunkett, which usually hangs in Portcullis House, as well as those of Tony Blair, David Tennant, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

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