Can you choose a favorite work of art? For an art historian, this question is like asking a mother about which child is her favorite. There’s no answer – you love them all. Yet, throughout history, a few works of art have caught the attention of art lovers around the world. Renowned for their beauty and artistic ingenuity, several of these pieces live right here in New York City. Want to catch a glimpse at the most critically acclaimed pieces? Stop by your local museum and be astounded by the delicate brushwork, exacting geometry, lifelike characterization and creative scenes of these iconic works.

Caravaggio, The Denial of St. Peter (credit: Jennifer Eberhart)

“The Denial of Saint Peter”

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10028

Price: Suggested $25 donation
Hours: Tues to Thurs – 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fri to Sat – 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun – 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

One of the most revered painters of European art, Caravaggio is known for his incredible manipulation of light and the realism with which he paints his characters. Created in 1571-1610, the scene in “The Denial of Saint Peter” is taken from the New Testament of the Christian Bible, when Peter publicly denies knowing Christ. A scene marked by emotions, the drama created by just three characters shows the ability of the painter of the late Italian Renaissance.

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The Unicorn in Captivity (credit:

“Unicorn Tapestries”

The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Drive
New York, NY 10040

Price: Suggested $25 donation
Hours: Tues to Sun – 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

The “Unicorn Tapestries” are a series of well known tapestries woven from fine wool and silk during the Middle Ages. Though much of their history is disputed, most art critics agree that the series holds significant beauty and historical relevance. “The Unicorn in Captivity,” one the more famous pieces, depicts a unicorn tied loosely to a tree with a low wooden fence surrounding him. Multiple flowers and fruits are dotted throughout the scene, meant to represent fertility and marriage.

Claude Monet, Water Lilies (credit: Jennifer Eberhart)

“Water Lilies”

Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53 St.
New York, NY 10019

Price: $14 – $25
Hours: Wed to Thurs and Sat to Mon – 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fri – 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Made during the Impressionist period of art in 1914-1926, this Claude Monet masterpiece spans an entire wall of the Museum of Modern Art at a whopping 6-feet high by 41-feet long. Composed of three pieces, this particular oil on canvas depicts a shimmering pond of water lilies with light, airy clouds reflected on the water’s surface. Visitors instantly become entranced by the beauty and sheer size of the composition.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Progress of Love (credit:

“The Progress of Love”

Frick Collection
1 E 70th St.
New York, NY 10021

Price: $10 – $18
Hours: Tues to Sat – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The topic of a new book published by the museum, this series of paintings by Jean-Honore Fragonard is currently hung in “The Fragonard Room” of the Frick Collection. Created from 1771-1772 for Louis XV’s mistress, the paintings represent the different stages of love: “The Pursuit,”  “The Meeting,” “The Lover Crowned” and “The Love Letters.” Each portrays an idyllic country scene of a happy couple surrounded by romantic symbols such as flowers.

Judy Chicago, Dinner Party (credit: Jennifer Eberhart)

“The Dinner Party”

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy.
Brooklyn, New York 11238

Price: Suggested donation of $8 – $12
Hours: Wed – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thurs – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri to Sun – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

One of the most iconic feminist works of art, this multimedia, large-scale, 3D work by Judy Chicago is housed in the Sackler Center for Feminist Art on the top floor of the Brooklyn Museum. The concept of “The Dinner Party” involves place settings for some of the most famous and respected women in world history. Plates are created and set up for the likes of painter Georgia O’Keefe, Egyptian female pharaoh Hatshepsut, Jewish hero Judith, British queen Elizabeth I and many more.

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Jennifer Eberhart is currently an art history/museum studies graduate student at The City College in New York. She is an avid art enthusiast, and visits as many museums and galleries as she can in her free time. Her work can be found at