Before I knew better, I thought all non-fiction books were boring. Likewise, I thought art was stuffy and dull. (I know! Talk about being wrong!) The joke was on me. Now I know better. Sure, art can be boring… or it can be beautiful! Delicious! Hilarious! In honor of this mischievous holiday, I dredged up some comical artwork for your Fool’s Day pleasure.
Pieter Brueghel the Younger often painted pictures depicting morals or lessons. For instance, you may be familiar with his painting titled, The Drunkard Pushed into the Pigsty. If that isn’t a life lesson, I don’t know what is. Similarly, Brueghel Jr. was well-aware that money = friends. Maybe fake friends, but friends. Maybe a bunch of butt-kissers, but friends. In one of his earliest paintings, he drives this point home by painting people crawling into some guy’s backside. We know the guy is rich because even though he’s missing pants, he has a barrel of coins. The frame around the picture reads: “Because so much money passes through my purse, therefore I am always surrounded by flatterers.”
There are no fewer than one million spoofs on da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, but I especially love Duchamp’s classic addition, beloved by adolescents everywhere: the moustache. The title is a tough one to figure out… until it’s not. It’s as risqué as it is clever. When said out loud, L.H.O.O.Q. is the French equivalent of- well. See if Google translate can’t help you out with that. And while you’re Googling, check into some more of Marcel Duchamp’s work if you like. His sense of humor is fantastic.
Lastly, we have this very happy violinist. I like to imagine one of his bandmates spiked the punch bowl at the after-party on April Fool’s Day. Painter Gerrit von Honthorst studied Caravaggio’s work very closely, so The Happy Violinist has a great dark/light contrast, but is cheerier than Caravaggio’s typical subjects (I’m looking at you, cut off head.) The violinist glows in a way that only a guy with a great sense of humor and bomb moustache can glow. He is jovial and tipsy and completely enamored with that goblet. It’s impossible not to be happy for him.
Happy April Fool’s Day! I hope your day is as joyful as The Happy Violinst’s day was. May you be crowned “Trickster Extraordinaire” and if someone ties your shoelaces together, may you fall with grace.