Dining Room Wall Art Inspired by Art’s Unsolved Mysteries

In the spirit of Halloween, we invite you to gather around to listen to three tales of mystery inspired by art’s unsolved mysteries, which can, in turn, encourage your dining room art selections. While dining room wall art isn’t usually a topic that you lean forward to discuss in hushed voices, it could be. 

The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night, c.1888 by Vincent Van Gogh

The dining room has always been a slightly fancier, more formal, sometimes forbidden room reserved for special occasions and unique and decorative wall art. If you’re looking to create an exciting, edgy vibe that piques the interest of your guests, read these mysterious stories of artistic wonder, and let your imagination be your decorative guide.

Long Lost Dining Room Wall Art Hiding in Plain Sight

Dining Room Wall Art that's sure to send shivers - Munch's The Scream

Once upon a time, in a formal dining room in a small, private liberal arts college in Minnesota, the lost work of a famous painter hung unassumingly on the walls. President David R. Anderson, the fearless leader of St. Olaf College, dined each day across from the unfinished painting of a dark and mysterious figure. Each day, he studied her black dress, her heavy eyelids, and her fair, porcelain skin. All along, he wondered which artist created the painting.

The answer did come to President Anderson, and it knocked him straight off his dining room chair. The portrait was a depiction of violinist Eva Mudocci. It was given to the college in 1999 after the death of art collector Richard Tetlie. Though it was often a conversation piece because of the mysterious unfinished nature of the painting, it wasn’t until recently that a scholar revealed that it might very well be the work of Edvard Munch, a Norwegian artist most famous for various renditions of The Scream. A version of The Scream painted by Munch in 1895, set the world record for an auctioned art piece. It sold for nearly $120 million in 2012. The version shown above, painted in 1893, is sure to set your visitors on edge. A reproduction will set you back just a wee bit less, with a custom frame.

While the painting awaits final authentification, the haunting image remains at the college. It creates an enigmatic air, along with a puzzling history.

Dining Room Wall Art that Remembers the Mystery of the Mask

African Mask III by Chariklia Zarris

Masks, because of their concealing and deceptive properties, have always held a mysterious vibe. Paintings, drawings, and even photographs of masks can be an excellent choice for dining room decor. If you choose a mask theme, make sure you retell the story of the Mask of Agamemnon.

The Mask is referred to as “the Mona Lisa of prehistory,” since the work of art dates back to 1500 B.C. in Ancient Greece. The archaeologist who discovered the mask in 1876, Heinrich Schliemann, claimed the gold-hammered mask was of the Greek war hero Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae during the Trojan War.

Soon after his discovery, however, it was revealed that Schliemann had previously excavated a site in Turkey. This was thought to be the site of Troy and Schliemann smuggled artifacts from the dig. It’s possible that the mask may have been a fabricated plant! It’s still unknown who was buried beneath the mask, and where Agamemnon’s bones lie.

Modern Dining Room Art as a Tribute to Banksy

Thought Providing Dining Room Wall Art - Bethlehem Wall Graffiti by Banksy

One of the most famous modern graffiti artists in recent history is still virtually unidentifiable. The edgy, colorful, controversial art of Banksy sparks conversation and intrigue wherever it pops up, whether it’s on the walls of buildings worldwide, or on the wall of your dining room.

Banksy has been creating art since the 1990s. He has worked on many high-profile projects. His work often in the spotlight, but his identity is still unknown. Banksy’s style is immediately recognizable. He often uses stencils and spray paint, and his art often makes a social or political statement.

In 2007 the artist Banksy created a nod to another mystery of art history: a replica of Stonehenge made out of portable toilets. This installation would be in poor taste for a dining room, no doubt. But framed dining room wall art inspired by other international mysteries could be a great addition. For example, images of the heads of Easter Island, Atlantis, and JFK artwork, always provoke thought. Prints of the Pyramids of Giza can spark a great conversation about the marvels of our earth that remain unknown.

Dining Room Wall Art Photography - Sphinx and Pyramid, Giza, Egypt by Michael DeFreitas / Danita Delimont