WTF Art History

For everyone interested in art history who has asked, WTF?

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  1. Tights Are NOT Pants: George Washington

    A little over a week ago I took a jab at Napoleon Bonaparte for wearing tights, an easy task considering he was a short French man, right?  Well in all fairness, our first president offers some great tights are NOT pants moments as well.  Thanks are in order to my friend Sarah for telling me about the first painting of George Washington that I’ll discuss, which happens to be one of the most iconic of Washington.  It shows the leader crossing the Delaware River in the dead of winter during the American Revolution in 1776.  Check out his crotch in those tight pants

    Emmanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851, oil on canvas.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Emmanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851, oil on canvas.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    This odd detail seems to portray a tear in the general’s pants, revealing his awkwardly colored balls underneath.  Now you’re interested right?  WTF?!?  Most likely those dangling beads hang from a tie on his belt.  Still, they are rather oddly placed.

    Charles Willson Peale, George Washington, c. 1779-1781, oil on canvas.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Charles Willson Peale, George Washington, LaFayette and General Tilghman at Yorktown, 1781, oil on canvas.  General Assembly House, House of Delegates, Annapolis, Maryland

    Watch the Moose Knuckle, Mr. President: Charles Willson Peale, George Washington, c. 1779-1781, oil on canvas.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Charles Willson Peale, George Washington, LaFayette and General Tilghman at Yorktown, 1781, oil on canvas.  General Assembly House, House of Delegates, Annapolis, Maryland

    Similar to the many portraits of Napoleon, Washington’s portraits by Charles Willson Peale present the leader with some major moose knuckle (aka male camel toe).  While these portraits were meant to commemorate major moments in Washington’s tenure as a general, they unfortunately also commemorate his massive crotch region.  Imagine trying to teach the significance of these portraits to groups of students who snicker off and on at the site of Washington’s manhood.

    It seems humorous that Horatio Greenough’s sculpture of Washington in the nude, draped like a Greco-Roman god caused a huge scandal when it was unveiled.  If Obama were depicted as Peale presented Washington, our contemporary eyes might find the image as offensive as Greenough’s public did his sculpture.  Thank you, Mr. First President, for providing a moment of humor to start off the week!


     
     
    1. fireami reblogged this from wtfarthistory and added:
      wtfarthistory, are you unaware of the word “pantaloons” ‘cause these ain’t tights. also plz stop saying tights are...
    2. wtfarthistory posted this