“If Paintings Could Text” Blog Makes Art Relatable Again by Brett Myers

Hard drinkers and art theorists alike, rejoice! The popular Tumblr blog, If Paintings Could Text, has combined both of your favorite activities to reveal extra layers within classical artwork. Overlaying vulgar and brazen iMessages on top of works such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Grant Wood’s American Gothic, the blog serves to help twenty-somethings relate to the classics like never before.

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Since 2009, Texts From Last Night has reminded the Internet why it’s highly recommended to leave one’s phones aside when imbibing. Additionally, the blog’s relatable and endless entries of embarrassing sex stories, drunken mishaps, and general debauchery all help us feel like our own stories aren’t too shameful. The ingenuity to If Paintings Could Text comes from its combination of TFLN‘s empathetic language and situations with dated artwork and artists which modern observers can easily feel disconnected from.

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Rene Magritte’s The Lovers depicts two people, supposedly a man and a woman, wearing cloth bags over their heads and attempting to kiss. Without a thorough understanding of Magritte’s portfolio and life, one could find this surreal painting difficult to understand (if it’s even meant to be understood in the first place). However, If Paintings Could Text chose to superimpose two messages on the portrait, which involve two speakers learning of a lover’s affinity for bondage and one of the speaker’s approval of said kink.

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While it’s highly doubtful that Magritte created this piece with these specific intentions, the fun part of scrolling through this blog is that we can’t prove that the art and the text messages don’t share subtext. Perhaps one idea behind The Lovers involves non-traditional sexual relations and its effects on the subjects’ relationship. Perhaps the still woman in Edward Hooper’s Summertime really is making her way home from an uncomfortable sexual encounter as described in its assigned iMessages. Who knows? It’s not like walks of shame are exclusive to the digital era.

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For a generation who has been told its methods of indulging in life and finding love are corrupt and doomed, If Paintings Could Text serves as a hilarious lens through which Millennials can examine art. Those studying art history are told classical artists come from a different time and create their work with priorities and methods much different than our own. They’re supposedly so different that analyzing art becomes a confounding and arduous process. If Paintings Could Text reminds us that whether they are classical or modern, artists are all human and the feelings behind the creation of art are universal. Besides, who says getting drunk and writing love letters in Medieval times is any different than drunkenly calling an ex-partner?

Check out the entire blog’s archive here: If Paintings Could Text


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