#2. The Second Louvre
You know the Louvre, right? If you're not culturally savvy, you at least know it as the de-facto art-heist set piece from, like, every other Pierce Brosnan movie. It's the single most famous museum in the world. What you probably don't know about are all the quirky, under-the-radar spinoffs of the Louvre, like Storage Louvre, Forgotten Louvre, and even the controversial Sewer Louvre.
Here we see the Mom's Basement Louvre.
It turns out that most of the Louvre's holdings are in storage either under the Louvre or in warehouses in and around Paris. In fact, a huge chunk of the floorspace of the Louvre proper is used to store works, rather than display them. But at least the secret storerooms aren't some hoity-toity, know-the-right-people kind of deal: There's nothing glamorous about, say, those ancient Egyptian sarcophagi that were kept in secret rooms in the sewers underneath the Louvre for over 100 years because of a lack of space. Or the 3,000 16th century Ottoman tiles that Louvre curators just hucked into storage and forgot about back in the 1970s, only "rediscovering" and assembling them recently.
"Just stuff it in the junk room. If it ain't the Mona Lisa, it ain't shit."
To be fair, the Louvre has gotten better about its inventory, and it now rates slightly higher than a college freshman dorm in domestic organization. Curators are now, like, pretty sure they have cataloged everything they own. But that doesn't mean the vast bulk of their pieces are now or will ever be on display to the general public. They've simply got too much art; the Louvre is so lousy with history that they've got priceless artifacts literally coming out the wazoo (for the purposes of this article, "wazoo" refers to a small drainage portal in a forgotten sewer room being used to store ancient sarcophagi).
#1. The Pope's Bathroom
There's a lot you can tell about other people by the contents of their bathroom. Fancy-smelling soaps mean there's a woman in the house, special kinds of shampoo might imply a dandruff problem, and a copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition could indicate the last time a chronic masturbator forgot to pay the Internet bill.
And then there's the pope.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Here he is in his native habitat, stalking antelope, his natural prey.
No, we're not calling the Holy Father a chronic masturbator -- we're just saying that if you can judge a man by his bathroom porn, then His Holiness got some 'splaining to do. See, the papal apartments are ridiculously tough to get into, and for good reason. Not only is it where the pope drops his ineffabilis deus, but one of its papal bathrooms contains some pretty graphic pagan artwork. And by pagan, we mean there's a bunch of risque frescoes. And by risque frescoes, we mean there's everything from regular ol' nudity to explicit Roman deity rape all over the walls.
To explain, we have to go back a few centuries to a time when porn was considered an art form and not a perversion. In the 16th century, the great artist Raphael created a masterpiece known as the Stufetta del Cardinal Bibbiena at the behest of the titular Cardinal Bibbiena. Bibbiena was kind of a pervert first and a man of God second: He was intrigued by the "erotic pagan works" being uncovered in ancient Roman ruins and figured that Raphael was the right man to splash porn all over his bathroom walls. And looking at what's left today (many of the naughty bits have been *ahem* rubbed off), boy was he ever right.
Trust us, you don't want to get any closer than this. It's sticky.
As time passed, Bibbiena's Bathroom of Holy Erections was dedicated and rededicated, eventually ending up as part of the current papal apartments. Of course, the Holy Loo is not open to the public, so if you want to appreciate a seminal work by one of the greatest artists in history, you first have to a) dedicate your life to Catholicism and become the pope and b) chase a couple of bran muffins with some black coffee.
Evan V. Symon is a moderator in the Cracked workshop. When he isn't busy trying to find Cassius Coolidge paintings in a major museum, he can be found working on his latest novel, End of the Line, right here. Gabe does an Internet radio show here. Good luck figuring out which show is his.
For more artistic ridiculousness, check out 8 Filthy Jokes Hidden in Ancient Works of Art and 7 Famous Works of Art With Bizarre Mistakes You Can't Unsee.