5 Paintings That Hide Filthy and Hilarious Secrets
April 5, 2018Ariel Rodriguez
They look like ordinary Renaissance paintings until you take a closer look...
Sometimes, when painters decide to use their fine art skills with oil on canvas, they picture an idea of what the finished product will look like. Other times, they just let the inspiration come to them as they go. Whatever their process may be, most of us believe painters try to transmit a beautiful message behind their masterpieces, and we hold their art to a very high standard, especially if they're from the Renaissance. Thus, you probably pictured these master painters as serious and respectful professionals that had zero time to waste on foolishness and silly pranks. Wrong! Shockingly, there are many paintings from this era that depicts graphic and sexual messages and satirical illustrations that would crack anyone up, even centuries later. This doesn't mean their artistic value and meaning is less important; on the contrary, they add to the the piece's value and will have you zooming in to look. Here are some of them:
Pieter Bruegel (father) : Netherlandish Proverbs (1559)
From a distance, this painting looks like an ordinary depiction of a village, but if you take a closer look, you'll find the many small comical illustrations Bruegel left for us to laugh at. The painting is as busy as the back of a cereal box, but these illustrations aren’t for kids to understand. It illustrates the Dutch proverbs and idioms that were common in villages at the time. For example, on the far left corner, there is a woman holding a demonic-looking creature, which refers to the proverb that says you can do anything, if you're persistent enough, even “tie the devil to a pillow.” There is also another proverb that says “they crap through the same hole,” and he illustrates it as … well, a man crapping through a hole. Also, a fox and a stork dining together recalls the proverb that talks about imposters thinking about their advantages.
Pieter Bruegel (son): The Flatterers (1592)
Unknown artist: The Tree of Fecundity (13th century)
Alonso Cano: “Saint Bernard”(1656)
Jan van Eyck: “The Arnolfini Portrait” (1434)