Can we all take a minute and appreciate that hundreds of years ago a person poured hours of hard work into painting cherubs making human fart bubbles.
So, this image has crossed my dash several times today, and each time I have been increasingly suspicious. At first glance this looks like a baroque painting – the nude, the putti, the ambiguous interior/exterior space are conventional baroque elements – but several aspects are off. First, the light looks artificial, there is no indication of the reds, oranges, or yellows one associates with an oil lamp, a candle, or the sun as one would have in a baroque painting. Second, the figures are rendered with almost photographic clarity, in a linear style out of step with baroque painting (think Rubens). Third, baroque and humor certainly aren’t mutually exclusive terms, but I have never seen scatalogical varieties employed in baroque painting (prints are a whole other game). Finally, the bubble wand strikes me as anachronistic (though I suppose 16th century bubble wands are not impossible).
A reverse image search later, and I find myself here, at the website of Latvian artist Arthur Berzinsh. A brief perusal of his portfolio pages confirms my suspicion that he is indeed some variant on the postmodern pop-surrealist. [TW “artistic portrayals” of rape] Additionally he is a gross misogynist, no doubt moments away from being championed by Hi-Fructose magazine. Also, he is an antisemite (romantic portrayals of Nazis are gross).
Can we all take a minute and consider that today, a man poured hours into painting a sexualized nude woman being groped by children who also happen to be making human fart bubbles in a style meant to look as if it had been created hundreds of years ago and that this reflects something about gendered power relations as produced in the West?
Your Friendly Neighborhood Art Historian,
[Edit] Can we take a minute and consider that, at this time, nearly 40,000 tumblr users were taken in by this image?
[Edit] I feel silly in learning that this image looks photographic, because, in fact it is a photograph (well, a photomanipulation). Doesn’t change anything though.
Coming out of semi-permanent seclusion to reblog this. That this work has over 60,000 notes, the vast majority of which reflect ignorance, is shameful.