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Natalie Frank

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but artists often see things differently from the rest of us. A masterpiece to a layperson’s eye might only make an artist roll theirs. On the other hand, we might be too quick to overlook an extraordinary work hiding in plain sight.

We asked six artists what they think are the most underrated and overrated works throughout art history. Here’s what they said.

Underrated: It might be Masaccio’s Brancacci Chapel. His frescos marked the beginning of humanism and perspective in Western art. His narrative paintings echo in my mind years later to another artist much more overlooked: Stanley Spencer. I just went to see his chapel in Sandham, U.K. His paintings are truly bizarre, and wholly his own. He approached the body with similar reverence and disdain for the humanity they represent. 

Overrated: Maybe the Mona Lisa? If I had to save one painting in a fire, I’d run toward the Goya. It’s odd what we fetishize, contemporary art certainly fits in this category. Between a Max Beckmann and a Banksy, I’m hoping the Banksy is the one being shredded. 

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