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.

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  2. Tights Are NOT Pants: Napoleon Bonaparte

    Napoleon Bonaparte Moose KnuckleMoose Knuckle Is NEVER OK: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Napoleon Bonaparte in the Uniform of the First Consul, 1804, oil on canvas.  Musée des Beaux-Arts, Liège, Belgium; Antonie-Jean Gros, Napoleon as First Consul, 1802, oil on canvas.  Musée National de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris ; Jacques-Louis David, The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries, 1812, oil on canvas.  The National Gallery, Washington, D.C.

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