Caravaggio’s Narcissus is a renowned masterpiece of 16th century Italian art, amply demonstrating the painter’s almost theatrical use of lighting to underscore the fraught emotions of its subject. It also pairs nicely with dialogue spoken by Christopher Guest as heavy metal guitarist Nigel Tufnel in 1984’s This Is Spinal Tap. Surrounded by darkness on all sides while pondering his reflection, the figure of Narcissus wonders aloud, “It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.” Here, the rich, mysterious darkness of Caravaggio’s canvas is compared to the infamous all-black album cover for the Smell The Glove LP. And this is but one of the fortuitous marriages of Pop Quotery, a Facebook account that assigns (via comic-book-style word balloons) quotes from prominent movies with famous paintings.
Frederic, Lord Leighton’s Light Of The Harem, for instance, is instantly repurposed with the simple addition of one of Tyler Durden’s monologues from Fight Club:
John William Waterhouse’s Jason And Madea from 1907 was originally meant to depict characters from Greek mythology, but the somber painting is hijacked by an argument between Jeff Bridges and John Goodman in The Big Lebowski:
Regularly updated with new examples, Pop Quotery has been running since Tuesday and can be followed via Instagram or Twitter if desired. The creator of the account is a San Francisco artist named Marcel who describes the project as a “new adventure.” Whatever the artist’s motivations might be, Pop Quotery’s love of both art and cinema is obviously sincere. One almost suspects that the person behind the account is using familiar movie quotes in order to introduce viewers to classic paintings. An excellent example of this is Pop Quotery’s inaugural posting, which combines Degas’ Beach Scene from 1876 with dialogue from a certain space adventure epic that came out a little over a century later:
Asked to reflect on his work, the artist responded:
As far as my work goes, y formative years for discovering pop culture were the ’80s and early ’90s. Needless to say, movies from that time played a big part in shaping my view of art. If John Hughes and Tony Scott films still resonate today, then maybe they’re capturing the same emotions as every artist from the 15th century to today and can be compared. That’s all bullshit of course. Mostly, I thought there were a lot of classical paintings that could mirror great scenes from movies, like Gowy’s painting of Icarus and Daedalus, shirtless and arguing, like Maverick and Iceman playing volleyball.