15 Clever Easter Eggs Hidden in Classic Works of Art

That Von Ostade was a straight up freak.
15 Clever Easter Eggs Hidden in Classic Works of Art

Everyone gets bored, even geniuses. Extraordinarily talented people need to do what they need to do to keep themselves entertained, and sometimes that involves sneaking little private jokes and extra bits of stuff into their work.

These Easter eggs might be immediately obvious to a select few, or they might lay undiscovered for years, known only to the ever-so-pleased-with-themselves artist. “Hee hee hee,” they think, “Not only am I a genius, but nobody’s spotted that I sneaked a little picture of myself into one of my masterpieces.”

Sometimes, things become Easter eggs retroactively, details from a work being removed or obscured for reasons to do with changing social mores, and only coming to light again centuries later.

But with the deliberate ones, just imagine how pleased you’d be, hiding details on a Where’s Waldo? scale within enormous oil paintings that were going to be displayed 60 feet up. “I’m doing all this extra work, and nobody will ever know!” you’d chuckle.

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Van Eyck’s Beastie Boys Spot

CRACKED Jan van Eyck's 1434 Arnolfini Portrait baffled people for years - how the fuck did he paint that shit? - but among its details is a figure in a convex mirror that might be van Eyck himself Beastie Boying it up.


Holbein’s Badass Reminder of Death

CRACKED S Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors contains one of the art world's better-known but also super-rad Easter eggs - a mysterious diagonal blur on the floor is actually a giant skull that only becomes clear if you stand way off to the right.


Giotto’s Hidden Devil

CRACKED Giotto's 13th century frescoes in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi had a hidden secret for centuries - nobody could get up high enough to spot a side-on portrait of Satan hidden in the clouds.


Ghirlandaio Wants to Believe

CRACKED Ghirlandaio's 15th-century The Madonna with Saint Giovannino contains a baffling detail that looks a lot like a flying saucer, with a dogwalker pointing at it. It's probably not incontrovertible proof of aliens, but, you know, maybe it is.


Bosch’s Ass Music

CRACKED One torture victim in Heironymous Bosch's awesome The Garden of Earthly Delights has sheet music written on his ass, which went unplayed for 600 years until an enterprising internet user worked it out. It's fine. It's no Raining Blood.


Botticelli’s Check-Me-Out

CRACKED The Adoration of the Magi places multiple well-known figures of the time around Christ, including the powerful Medici family and the guy who commissioned the painting. The dude on the far right looking straight at us? Botticelli himself, showing off.


Peeters’ Rim Job

CRACKED Flemish artist Clara Peeters' Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels features another incredibly subtle self-portrait - Peeters painted with such accuracy that she included herself reflected in the rim of the jug.


Von Ostade’s Squatting Shitter

CRACKED When restoring Isaac van Ostade's 17th-century A Village Fair With A Church Behind in 2015, art historians discovered that a bush was a later addition, painted in by some poop-hating killjoy to cover a guy cheerfully taking a dump.


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