French Artist Adds Celebrities Into Classical Paintings
People of status always dominated in portraits, not only because of their elevated social rank but also because it cost a fortune to commission a painting. Nowadays, however, there are millions of cheaper and faster ways to immortalize one’s image, making portrait paintings a somewhat unnecessary medium.
Just like the medium, the subjects of portraits have also changed: royalty and nobles don’t have as much importance as they used to have, and they’ve slowly been exchanged for a modern version of people of status — celebrities. Instagram artist Kyès digitally recreates classical paintings by substituting people that were important back in the day with people who are considered to be important in pop culture nowadays.
In short, this substitution works, probably because the classical painting style subconsciously elevates the subject of the painting onto a higher plane than just simply mundane. A modern analogy would be a “star,” which also signifies this sort of specialness. In other words, classical paintings and celebrities are a match made in heaven.