We all know one. Most of us, regrettably, know a couple.
They spend most of their time in pretentious coffee shops, scrutinising every sip with the same ferocity a spoiled brat – who’s wielding daddy’s credit card – would criticise a glass of Château d’Yquem. Brows furrowed, they write an ambiguous Zomato review that compliments the roasting of the beans, but pays out on the adequacy of the service which most would believe to be ample.
Thankfully they adorn a uniform that distinguishes them from the rest of us – a foul mix of denim-on-denim, flat-forms/boat-shoes and unkept hair.
The art-wanker was an inevitability of 2015. Like, how can one be a hipster without an appreciation of all things ~artisan/cultural~? So you can protect yourself from the art know-it-all and stop their pompous onslaught in its tracks, we’re giving you a few art history zingers to pull out in case of emergency.
Contained herein are several basic deconstructions, explanations and tidbits of info on some fahhhhbulous artworks from throughout the ages. We strongly recommend you read and memorise the following so you stand a fighting chance against the plight of the indies (*vomits uncontrollably*).
THE VIRGIN ADORING THE SLEEPING CHRIST CHILD (THE WEMYSS MADONNA) c1485
PAINTER: Sandro BOTTICELLI (SAHN-dro bah-tuh-CHEL-lee)
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Botticelli was the Justin Bieber of the Italian Renaissance (the Renaissance, in general, being the period in Europe from 14th to the 17th century which v-smart people consider to be the bridge between modern history and the Middle ages) so it’s worthwhile becoming familiar with his name.
He was the dude responsible for The Birth of Venus (the painting of Venus in the clam-shell clutching her lady-bits) if you’re having a hard time figuring out da fuq he is.
Re: this particular painting – there’s plenty of cool things about it that you can chuck into the mix if an art-wanker is flaunting themselves. One could argue that the enclosed garden is ~symbolic~ of the Virgin (hehehe) Mary’s purity. The child’s lack of tan (sort it, Jesus) could be a subtle hint to his eventual death, and the strawberry plant is reflective of the blood he’ll shed when hectically nailed to the cross.
Another FYI: this particular work isn’t Botticelli’s normal noise. It’s smaller than a lot of his other works and painted on a canvas rather than a wooden board. Slip it into conversation that it was probably made for a private space rather than a church etc.
AN OLD WOMAN COOKING EGGS 1682
PAINTER: Diego VELÁZQUEZ (DYAY-go vay-LAHTH-keth)
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: As you can see, old mate wasn’t terribly inventive when it came to titling his works (An Old Woman Cooking Eggs – srsly?) but what he lacked in that department, he well and truly made up for with brush technique. THAT’S SOME PRECISE STUFF RIGHT THERE.
Velázquez was about 18 or 19 when he painted this, so yeah, he was talented. His skills were unmatched by any other artist in Spain at the time, so it’s pretty obvi why he was relocated to the courts of Madrid and eventually appointed painter to King Philip IV. Defs a #killingit moment.
The peeps depicted in the work existed IRL and ft. in other pieces as well. As they’re of no historical significance, the reason why this particular painting is considered so *thumbs up* lies in its no-frills/no-BS depiction of monotonous eryday existence. If you’re looking to impress le art-wanker, comment on Velázquez’s mastery of line and tone – they’re the conventions responsible for his works’ realism and dark lighting.
POPLARS ON THE EPTE 1891
PAINTER: Claude MONET (kload moe-nay)
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Firstly, don’t mix up Monet with Édouard Manet – it can be confusing AF. Manet transitioned from Realism to Impressionism, whereas Monet was in fact the founder of Impressionism.
Poplars on the Epte belongs to a series of 23 canvases that were all painted on Monet’s river-boat studio which would be a pretty dope office, you’ve got to admit. In addition to founding one of the most influential art movements in the human history (no biggy), Monet was a bit of a tree-hugger. Well kinda/sorta. He’d already started the collection when powers-that-be started hacking down the lumber to sell for dollar-dollar bills, y’all. They would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling kids (Monet and a local timber merchant) *shakes fist at cloud*.
Most works in the series are vertical but, as you would have noticed, this one is square. Its dimensions emphasise the curve of the river bank and the verticality of the trees/their reflections on the water. ~The more you know~.
THREE TAHITIANS 1899
PAINTER: Paul GAUGUIN (pall go-GA)
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Gauguin used his daily super-like on Polynesia. This work was painted during his second trip to Tahiti and reflects an intensity noticeable in his later works.
Critics reckon this piece depicts a silent convo where the dude is all like ‘I dunno’ about the goodies both women are offering – and by goodies, we mean the mango and the posy of flowers. Oh, and their boobs. He’s pretty interested in their boobs.
It’s suggested that the woman in blue, holding the flowers/wearing a wedding ring, represents virtue. She’s the kinda gal you want to bring home to meet the rents. The other is as sassy as a Sasquatch – check out that fierce pout she’s dropping. She’s also wielding a mango – *gasps* – which could be a biblical dig at Adam and Eve. Judging by the way the guy is facing, we’re guessing he ended up having a one-nighter with the lady in red.
The strength of the art-wankers grows with each passing day. They’re multiplying ferociously and we predict there’ll soon be a global denim shortage. Chaos is coming, people. Utter chaos. To ensure you’re properly equipped to handle the impending onslaught of pretentiousness, you better get yourself to the Art Gallery of New South Wales asap. Learn all that you can from The Greats before all hope is lost. For more info, visit their website HERE.
All images supplied.