Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is it okay to make fun of classical art?

So I was doing art history research to fill some pages in my sketchbook (it's not cheating, believe me!) and I came across this blog.

Fine Art Macros

First reaction (+0 minutes):
This is hilarious! Memes are really funny and since I know enough about this art, I can actually laugh about it with a little appreciation. I enjoy that I can understand the references that the jokes are making, both through internet memes and historical art. I had just watched a documentary about Francisco Goya, and when I saw "Saturn Devouring His Son" and the caption beside it, it gave me a new perspective about the original incredibly scared feeling I experienced when I previously viewed it.

Second reaction (+2 minutes):
Hold on, should we be making fun of these paintings? Isn't art history expansively important in the way we view our past? Isn't it really disrespectful to laugh at this? Francisco Goya was going through an enormous amount of inner torment when he painted "Saturn Devouring His Son", so who exactly are we to laugh at his pain? Could we have painted something any better than the incredible expression of feeling that these artists created? Just look at Millet's "The Gleaners". The painting is supposed to glorify the toilings of the working class and the hard work they take upon themselves every day, and it is depicted here to show them picking up candy like children.

Third reaction (+5 minutes):
Is it a possibility that the person who created this blog wanted to shine a little positive light on some bleak and dark paintings? Could it be said that enjoying a painting in whichever way we choose is better than not enjoying it at all? Perhaps there are people who did not know anything about these artists until they came across this blog and decided they wanted to know more. If that is the case, should we not rejoice in the fact that there has now spread a better understanding of where we have come from through visual representation of experience? David's "Portrait of M. Lavoisier and his Wife" may be shown here in an almost accurate rendition, concerning how men acted when courting women in those neoclassical days.

I am still not sure how I feel about the blog and the making fun of classical art in general, but I do know this:

  • I can laugh at my own art (but I am in no way comparing myself to Francisco Goya)
  • Learning about art is important and relevant to everyone (but how we learn is equally as important)
  • We mustn't take ourselves seriously all the time (good art is not made that way)
If someone who enjoys memes were to come across the blog, I would hope that they would have the motivation to understand the humour by doing some research on the paintings. That way, they are finding entertainment through the humour as well as learning about art history, which continues to be relevant even in these post-modern times. Just think, in the future, someone will certainly be making fun of the art we make today, and perhaps this question will arise again.


  1. chloe! thanks for the good luck! i can't finish reading this post because i have to wake up early tomorrow, but am now your newest follower >:)


    hope your happy i decided to try this blog thing out too, mainly so you could have another follower.