Great Art With Bizarre Flaws You Never Noticed & Can't Unsee
We all have weak spots -- even artists. Scorsese isn't a sculptor and all of his attempts probably look like summer camp ashtrays, we're reasonably sure da Vinci couldn't dunk, and basically every actor who thinks they're also a musician is not. But sometimes an artistic genius has a weak spot right in their chosen field, and we somehow all agree to overlook it. Like how ...
Botticelli Was Terrible At Drawing Feet
The Birth Of Venus is one of the most famous Renaissance paintings of all time, and it's a pretty massive achievement to stand out among the crowd during the goddamn Renaissance.
And it was originally nothing but an excuse to make a dirty joke about clams.
Given the status of this painting and how his name rolls off the tongue, it seems a downright injustice that the artist, Sandro Botticelli, never had a Ninja Turtle counterpart. But then you scan down past the overall beauty of the piece and notice what lurks at the bottom. Seriously, every single foot in this painting is really messed up.
Tarantino still masturbates to this, but it doesn't feel right.
Every character in this scene is standing on a pair of grotesque, arthritic sausage feet with a bone structure that gives podiatrists priapism. You might think that Botticelli was simply out of practice here and presumably spent some time later on perfecting his foot game, but the weird foot thing is evident throughout much of his work. In Lamentation Over The Dead Christ, Jesus himself is suffering the same bizarre bone deformity and elongated sausage toes, with some weird backward-bending dog legs for good measure.
"Dogliness is next to godliness."
And we have some evidence that Botticelli was frustrated by it. While restoring his painting Saint Francis Of Assisi With Angels, analysts managed to glimpse the numerous errors he made in the planning stage of the titular saint's feet -- he'd painted over them again and again in a desperate effort to get them right, and we can only imagine how many times he threw his palette against the wall and went out to get shitfaced and commiserate with an anachronistic Rob Liefield.
In response, society invented shoes.
Medieval Architects Didn't Know What The Hell They Were Doing
The few Middle Age buildings that have survived the numerous crusades and two world wars stand as testaments to the artistic skill of the masons of old. They make us wish for the days when architects had passion for their work, instead of filling our cities with slight variations on "giant shoebox with windows."
"The only arches you'll see are McDonald's, and you'll like it!"
But the fact that any buildings survive from that era is kind of a miracle, because back then, architects tended to put aesthetics ahead of such middling concerns as "structural integrity." On closer inspection, many medieval buildings resemble a Lego set that someone tried to put together without instructions.
Take Selby Abbey in England, whose builders apparently started off with an arch before realizing they didn't have enough room, so they squeezed it off early, giving the impression that the side of the building is falling into a black hole:
Of course, Selby Abbey is also a portal to Narnia.
Then there's Canterbury Cathedral, where overenthusiastic masons started building a pole and an arch in the same corner before realizing their error, and instead of fixing it, just stuck a poster over the mistake when the inspector came by:
"Meh. How long is this place going to be around for, anyway?"
Salisbury Cathedral started building an arch where a wall was supposed to go. They put the wall there anyway:
"Uh ... Noticing it is a sin!"
You can find even more ridiculous medieval mistakes in this blog post from a British historian, which went viral among people who are interested in that kind of thing (read: British historians). It's interesting to note that the higher up a structure is, the smaller the chance of surviving blueprints. This is either due to the fact that medieval architects were prone to improvisation, or to the principle of conserving trade secrets. Looking at the pictures, we're it sure looks like it had to do with covering up the evidence. It seems "Nah, I meant to do that" was the mantra of the medieval architect.
Neon Genesis Evangelion's Religious Symbolism Was Made Up On The Spot
If you grew up in the '90s, your gateway drug to anime was Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z. Then came the hard stuff, like Neon Genesis Evangelion, when you first realized that, holy shit, this can be art. The series was littered with heavy religious imagery -- from the title itself, to the fact that the giant "angels" create crucifixes of light in the sky when they die, to the heroic superweapon named the "Spear of Longinus," after the weapon that pierced Jesus's side.
Every character was Keanu Reeves.
Like all good art, the story makes no goddamn sense and never gives any direct answer about anything. But fans and critics alike have debated its meaning for decades. Ask most anybody -- Evangelion's symbolism is so subtle and deep that you all but need a PhD in theology to even begin to understand it.
Or at the very least, a doctorate in facial hair.
Well, ask anybody except for the folks who made it, anyway. If you ask the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kazuya Tsurumaki, he'll tell you it's a series about robots punching monsters, and then look you at weird when you start babbling about philosophy. All that Biblical symbolism? All those deep, layered, religious metaphors? It's all cobbled together from various words and images that the writers (none of whom are Christian) thought were cool. No, seriously, we're not being dismissive here.
In Tsuramaki's own words: "There are a lot of giant robot shows in Japan, and we did want our story to have a religious theme to help distinguish us. Because Christianity is an uncommon religion in Japan, we thought it would be mysterious. None of the staff who worked on Eva are Christians. There is no actual Christian meaning to the show, we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool."
So the Christian imagery in the show is essentially there for the same reason you have the kanji for "forever" tattooed on your ankle.
The Author Of Robinson Crusoe Was Legendary For Plot Holes
Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe inspired everything from Gulliver's Travels and Lord Of The Flies to Gilligan's Island and Lost. It's one of the most widely published books in history. Which is funny, considering that it probably contains more plot holes than any other book in the English canon.
In one scene, Crusoe decides to swim out to a sunken ship naked ...
Pp. 53-54. " I pulled off my clothes ... and took the water "
... and once he gets there, proceeds to fill his pockets with food.
" I went to the bread-room and filled my pockets with biscuit ... I had the mortification to see my coat, shirt, and waistcoat ... swim away; as for my breeches ... I swam on board in them, and my stockings."
Which makes no sense at all, unless Crusoe refers to his butthole as a "pocket." And if that's the case, then for the love of god, please don't have him eat those biscuits.
In some chapters, it's told that Crusoe longs for such luxuries as ink. In later chapters, he's writing in his journal with ink, without saying where he got it. At another point, he wishes he had a pipe, forgetting that, earlier in the story, it was specifically noted that he saved a pipe from the shipwreck.
Plus, they never explain what the deal is with Walt's powers.
In retrospect, maybe Defoe was a literary genius and you can chalk all these inconsistencies up to Crusoe being driven insane by solitude. But either way, you could probably stick to the SparkNotes version and still come out with a more coherent understanding of the book.
Cave People Understood Movement Better Than We Do Today
We know what human movement looks like. Unless you're a total spaz, when you walk or run, your arms swing back and forth while your legs move, one foot in front of the other. If you want to get pedantic -- and you've been reading this article, so you know we want to get pedantic -- you'll note that the arm that swings forward is always on the same side as the leg that's swinging back.
Yet most of the artists in all of human goddamn history somehow keep getting this wrong.
We're also not totally sure about those thigh muscles.
In a 2014 study, scientists discovered that, throughout most of human history, the majority of artwork portrays people running or walking by having them extend the arm on the same side as their forward leg. Nobody actually walks this way -- if you try, you'll look like a drunken robot -- and yet it's how artists from every era of history have perceived human movement from ancient Greece, to medieval anatomy expert Peter Paul Rubens, to goddamn Leonardo da Vinci.
Even Mr. Tambourine Man proved fallible.
In fact, it's been noted that cave people had a better grasp on leg position for both humans and animals than we do today. So in terms of understanding biological movement in general, our whole species has been sliding backward since the caveman days. Or maybe it looks more dynamic to depict movement this way and we should quit nitpicking art so much. Your call.
Unlike all the crappy artists she writes about, Rachel is amazing, and also hilarious. Follow her on Twitter here! Abraham loves enchiladas de mole and tacos de barbacoa. You can say hi to him on twitter here, or visit his DeviantArt here.
Zoroastrianism used to be one of the biggest religions in the world, but their idea of heaven had a slight twist on it: to get there you'd have to cross a bridge. Sometimes rickety, sometimes wide and sturdy, if you fell off you'd go to the House of Lies for eternity. Fun! Not terrifying at all! This month, Jack, Dan, and Michael along with comedians Casey Jane Ellison and Ramin Nazer as they discuss their favorite afterlife scenarios from movies, sci-fi and lesser-known religions. Get your tickets here and we'll see you on the other side of the bridge!
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