A Tiered Ranking of All the Animal Crossing Paintings

I don’t play Animal Crossing, nor do I have the money to play Animal Crossing, but my friends do. Living vicariously through them, I’ve discovered that a recent addition to the game is art collection via capitalist sympathizer, Jolly Redd. This art (and furniture) curator will try and scam you by selling you fake art; however, some paintings are genuine. I took European History in high school and that class had an entire art history unit, so I’ll be looking beyond Redd’s scams and judging his artwork collection. 

It’s important to consider before diving into this tiered list of artwork that each piece, regardless of whether it is real or fake, is $498,000. I’ll be keeping that price point in mind when ranking each piece of art from best to worst.

  1. 1. Elite Tier: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

    This is an absolutely incredible painting. It’s so mainstream, too; you could show pretty much anyone this painting and they would probably recognize it. Granted, they might not be able to tell you it’s a Vermeer, but this is elite artwork. It’s such a simple piece to look at: your eye isn’t concentrated on too much, but the pearl earring (people actually think it’s tin so oop-) catches the eye perfectly. 

    This painting has also had two (maybe more) movies made about it: Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) and St. Trinians (2007). You can’t tell me it’s not iconic.

  2. 2. Elite Tier: The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer 

    I didn’t want to have to put another Vermeer in the elite category, but this painting is truly amazing. It also gives me the most nostalgia about the art history unit of European History. I feel like it’s literally forged into my brain. It’s an incredibly simple situation depicted so beautifully, with every little object painted carefully. Everything also flows together really nicely in this painting with the draping of the fabric on the table and the woman, and the dull light from the window lighting up the room just enough.

  3. 3. Elite Tier: Eat Me by Chandler Groover

    This is one of the most unique paintings in Animal Crossing, and a great choice to include. I don’t even know where an idea like this comes from, but I’m so glad it was created. Even though it’s compiled solely out of fruits and barley, you can tell this is a face. It gives the painting an unusual aspect...why do our brains recognize this as a face? How much can you change the construction of a human face for people to still recognize it as one? It plays with my mind, and I love it. That’s not even to mention the level of detail here, especially on the barley strands.

  4. 4. Very Good Tier: The Gleaners by Jean Francois Millet

    I don’t normally love paintings with blurry backgrounds, but this one gets a pass. The scene almost feels like it’s moving here. You can really feel the work being done, and it seems like a very vivid depiction of rural society in 1857. The upper classes of the mid-1800s didn’t like this painting because they thought it was giving glory to the lower-class worker, so their hatred just makes me like it even more. The Gleaners doesn’t quite reach elite tier though, because I’m not totally sure what the obsession is with making rural society look dusty and foggy.

  5. 5. Very Good Tier: Rooster, Hen, and Hydrangeas by Ito Jakuchu

    I really love the connection to nature in this painting, and also the detail that goes along with it (specifically with the blue hydrangeas). We have hydrangeas in my front yard, so that really just gives this painting extra points. Not that other plants aren’t cool as well, but hydrangeas and I have a tight bond. For me, I imagine them as a little bit of a lighter blue, but I appreciate that the colors were made more dynamic in this painting. The only real reason this isn’t in the elite tier is that every piece of the painting doesn’t totally stick out to me; my eyes get a little lost somewhere in the middle.

  6. 6. Good Tier: Beauty Looking Back by Hishikawa Moronobu

    The colors in this painting are my favorite part of it. Unlike some of the other paintings, it has brighter colors on a dull background. The red and green colors feel like they’re really popping here. Overall, I don’t love single portrait paintings. They just look like they could have a little more to them to me, but this one is a portrait painting done well. 

  7. 7. Good Tier: Greek or Roman art?

    There really is just a lot going on in this painting. It’s very mystical and it feels a little trippy too, so I’m not sure how to feel about that, but the construction of it is very realistic. Another thing that’s not my favorite is that I didn’t find a name or author for it upon searching up the painting, and I was only able to find that it is Greek or Roman art from the Renaissance. I don’t love how I can’t connect this to anyone or anything. 

  8. 8. Good Tier: Isle of the Dead by Arnold Bocklin

    This one gives me creepy vibes, and I don’t really like it. In terms of the actual painting, it’s put together very well, and everything looks very real. However, it gives me an uneasy feeling. Maybe a lot of that has to do with the fact that it looks so real, and that the painter called this the “isle of the dead”. Not my favorite vibe of all the paintings, but it’s good quality artwork.

  9. 9. Just Alright Tier: A Bar at the Folies-Bergere by Edouard Manet

    I’m not sure how to feel about the perspective of this one. The people in the background and either the reflection of the lady pictured or another lady in the scene is throwing me off a little bit. I do respect that this painting is a little more than a portrait though. Although the bartender is the main part of the painting, it has additional details that give it a little bit more of a background.

  10. 10. Just Alright Tier: The Fifer by Edouard Manet

    I can’t really find anything I love about this painting. It feels pretty plain compared to the other portraits featured in Animal Crossing. The clothing doesn’t quite have as much detail as other paintings, and the flute looks fairly simple as well. This isn’t quite a “Bad Tier” painting because it’s still a person, and people are hard to draw realistically in my opinion, but it’s getting there.

  11. 11. Just Alright Tier: The Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

    Again, this isn’t my favorite painting ever. I like the scene, and the ice-skating rink reminds me of the Frog Pond (elite place). However, I feel like the depth perception is a little messed up on this one. The bridge and the people on the higher ground feel a little bit 2D, but this improves as your eyes move lower down towards the ice and the houses in the distance.

  12. 12. Just Alright Tier: Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

    I just KNOW this one is going to be controversial, but I don’t know what people see in the Mona Lisa. It just looks blurry to me. It looks like I don’t have my contact lenses in and I’m trying to look at the painting. Da Vinci’s ghost is going to absolutely strike me down for this one, but it’s very average in my eyes. I’d like the background and the sleeves to be more detailed, but we can’t all get what we want. 

  13. 13. Bad Tier: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Suerat

    I just simply do not like this painting. I know it’s probably supposed to be a specific style of art, but everything just looks basic. The grass is all one color, there’s minimal shading on the trees, and not a single person is detailed that well in my opinion. It really just doesn’t seem that special to me–I look at it and nothing pops out.

  14. 14. Bad Tier: The Night Watch by Rembrandt

    I’m not a huge fan of these dimly lit paintings. It’s a super dark scene, and only a couple of things stick out to my eyes. Everything other than the two men in the front just fades into the background for me. It’s a pretty violent looking painting as well, and I think these types of scenes are a little bit overdone. 

  15. 15. Bad Tier: The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai

    In the kindest way possible, this painting is basic. I don’t know where I’ve seen it specifically, but I just know that wave from about a million places. That isn’t necessarily the artist's fault, but it does take away from the painting itself for me. After you see something a million times, it just isn’t special anymore. 

  16. 16. Bad Tier: Academic Painting by Leonardo Da Vinci

    This one is academic, which is a little boring. It’s less of a painting and more of a sketch (like something you would see in anatomy class). Therefore, I don’t think this should even be classified as a painting. It should be in a science museum, not an art museum. The person is drawn very well, but it doesn’t fall under the subcategory of art known as “paintings”.



I understand this is a little controversial, but not all paintings can be great. Not even all paintings can be good. I’m ready to get struck down by the ghosts of some of these painters, but hopefully the ghosts of the other painters will protect me. I’m also going to apologize for having zero taste, but hopefully some of you agree with these rankings!

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