The Art of Memes

When pop culture meets classical art

Meme culture has made its way into the mainstream, quickly transforming the way we communicate. From self-deprecating to ironic, tagging a friend in a good meme has become not just a past-time but a way of bonding.

Lately, there been a surprising area of this culture that is currently gaining traction and it involves the unlikely pairing of pop culture and classical art.

A perfect example of this amalgamation comes in the form of Instagram page, Classical Art Memes. Using a tried and true meme template, the account adds funny captions or out of context dialogue to famous, and otherwise, pieces of classical art.

Another popular account in this area is Tabloid Art History which upholds a belief that “for every pic of Lindsay Lohan falling, there's a Bernini sculpture begging to be referenced”. Placing paintings by the greats such as Leonardo da Vinci alongside Kim Kardashian, it brings these pieces of art forward in time, to a contemporary place that audiences are more comfortable with.

The latest account to catch our fancy in this realm is @mystendhalsyndrome, aptly named after the psychosomatic disorder that can cause nausea and hallucinations when viewing art. Page creator Antonio Patruno Randolfi uses his art and fashion knowledge to add modern luxury accessories on classically painted portraits. By forging modernity and classicism, Randolfi hopes people will appreciate the original art through his satirical appropriation.

With some portraits dating back to the 14th century, seeing them accessorised with the likes of Gucci, Prada and Burberry is both comical and beautiful.

By making light of classical art, these accounts are also bringing the significance (and beauty) of these artworks to the light.