It’s easy to look back at art and portraits from hundreds of years ago and think that we have really come a long way since then. We, however, would like to argue otherwise. These memes on classic pieces of art seem to prove that we actually have much more in common with our ancestors than we have ever imagined. In addition, they are hilarious. Here are some of the greatest classic art memes of all time.
We all know this feeling and let’s be honest – that is the exact same face that we make when it happens to us. You’re sure that you put your phone in your pocket before you left home but now, when you pat down your pockets to check, it’s nowhere to be found.
You have that moment of utter panic during which you try to figure out where in the world it could be. In the end, it’s always in the pocket of your coat or something.
We know the rules
Monopoly can be a lot of fun, but it is also one of those really long games that seem to go on forever. Anything that delays it or anyone who causes the game to stop in the middle is basically a traitor.
This painting sums up that feeling perfectly. The man in black is conscientiously reading the instruction manual while the other two players are staring off in opposite directions, clearly uninterested. It looks like there’s even some Monopoly money on the floor.
What did you forget this time?
One of the worst things that you can do when you leave your house is to accidentally leave the oven on. It’s taking a really big risk of burning your house down, and you definitely don’t want that.
In fact, this was probably doubly true back when this drawing was made, because an oven was really just fire back then. When this soldier realized that he hadn’t turned his oven off, he probably had to run home real quick to turn it off before fighting the Persians.
When you’re invited to a party or an event, it can be very difficult to decide what to wear. You don’t want to show up looking way fancier than everyone else, but you also don’t want to be underdressed.
Queen Elizabeth seemed to be erring on the side of overdressing in this portrait, as do many people to this day. Even if our friends tell us it’s just a casual event, we’d rather look fabulous than lackluster.
What was I thinking?
Facebook has now been around for quite a while, and chances are we’ve all grown older and wiser since our early days on social media.
It can be pretty astonishing to look back at the strange and embarrassing things that we said almost ten years ago, and unfortunately for us, Facebook has preserved them like an online time capsule. It’s always a mistake to look back at what we wrote in 2009, but once we start it’s hard to stop.
One of the downsides of being a jester has got to be the fact that you’re supposed to be funny all the time. In reality, it’s pretty much impossible to live that kind of life.
After all, we all have ups and downs, good days and bad days, and it looks like this jester is having quite a bad day. For him, April Fools is just like all of the other days in the year – a day for jokes and pranks. He looks like he’s about had enough of it.
One of the joys of searching for images on the internet is coming across stock photos. You know the type – those pictures of models in phoney poses, doing ridiculous things like staring off into the distance.
Judging from this painting, stock photos actually existed before photography was even invented. As you can see, this model is simply posing with his parchment and quill pen, staring contentedly out at nothing. Nobody really sits like that, but it would look great in a brochure.
Who did it?
Have you ever seen a group of guiltier looking people? We sure haven’t. They all look like they are trying their very best not to make eye contact with someone who is accusing them of something.
The winner is clearly the guy all the way on the right, who went so far as to tie a handkerchief around his head. It’s just like in class when nobody knows the answer. Everyone avoids looking at the teacher because if they can’t catch your eye, they can’t call on you, right?
Being vegan is a great lifestyle choice for many people, but those who love eating meat have a difficult time understanding why someone would give it up. Here’s a good old vegan joke meme that fits perfectly with this painting.
The message here is pretty clear: if you don’t want to eat what we’re making for dinner, you’re going to go hungry. This is a common struggle to this day, and it’s funny to think about the same conversation happening many years ago.
What the duck?
We have all experienced the joys and pains of autocorrect. It can lead to some of the most hilarious conversations (just look up “autocorrect fails”) but it can also cause us to accidentally send horribly embarrassing messages.
When you try to fix the autocorrect mistakes over and over again but your phone keeps changing your words, it can become extremely frustrating. While this man probably didn’t have to worry about autocorrect, he’s making the face we all make when it happens to us.
You know that feeling when you’re the only one in the house who is awake and you’re trying your best to be quiet but can’t help making tons of noise?
You’re certain you’re going to accidentally wake up all of the sleeping people who are better off not knowing that you’re still awake. Then you drop that metal spoon in the kitchen and it clatters to the floor, and you look just like the man in this painting.
Terms and conditions
Let’s be honest – it’s very rare for a person to actually scroll through the many pages of terms and conditions and read them all. Often, people just skip to the end, even if that’s not the wisest way to conduct your daily business.
But when, for whatever reason, you’re truly expected to read those pages of technical jargon, you feel that sinking feeling in your stomach that you also feel before a big test. It’s just not fun.
If Romeo and Juliet took place nowadays, using today’s technology and slang, it would probably look something like this. And in fact, there are probably love stories today that rival the tale of Romeo and Juliet – but they occur on the internet.
This iPod listening Romeo, for example, really just wants to know what the deal is with Juliet, the girl he has a crush on. For some reason, however, she made her relationship status on Facebook “it’s complicated,” and who knows what that means.
No jam for you
One of the most frustrating feelings in the world has got to be when you can’t open that jar you really need opened and there’s nobody around to help you.
Sure, you’re strong and independent when it comes to everything else, but why do they make those jars so very hard to open? The worst is the honey jar, because it gets so sticky around the top that it’s nearly impossible to twist the lid. Why haven’t they invented a solution yet?
At least it’s not Titanic
There’s a time and a place for humming theme songs from movies, and when you’re on a rickety boat in the middle of the icy Delaware River, most would agree that it is not the time.
Actually, humming the theme from Jaws is frowned upon near pretty much any body of water, but particularly when you’re on such treacherous and icy waters as these. George Washington really does not look pleased, but he might just be really cold.
We’ve all been in that uncomfortable situation where someone starts oversharing. If they’re a close friend or family member, it’s nice to discuss serious topics and innermost feelings, but when it’s someone you’ve just met, things can get a little shady.
This painter perfectly captured that feeling, with the woman on the right going into gory detail about something intensely personal and the woman on the left looking unprepared and horrified with the direction the conversation has taken.
Ask your great-grandmother
Sometimes, as is the case with many of these clever classic art memes, humor comes from people saying or doing the unexpected. That’s certainly what’s going on here.
The little girl asks her mother a strange and overly confident question, to which her mother replies with an equally surprising answer. Like mother, like daughter. Both women are claiming that they are the best daughter, and we can only imagine that the claims will continue as we go up through the generations.
Our favorite reality show
We hope you enjoy puns as much as we do, because this meme is full of them. It starts with renaming “Dancing with the Stars,” the celebrity dancing competition TV show to “Dancing with the Tsars.”
Then they go ahead and talk about the notable contestants – Peter, Catherine, and Ivan. They are commonly known as Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and, you guessed it – Ivan the Terrible. You are all welcome to let out a collective groan-laugh with us.
This one is slightly outdated, but still quite funny. Until last year, tweets had to be limited to 140 characters (now they can be 280 characters) which made it a constant challenge to fit in everything that you wanted to say.
Everyone had to really think about how to express themselves in order to tweet successfully, humorously, and understandably. This man really does look like his brain is working overtime to craft the perfect tweet, even though he lives hundreds of years before the internet.
Today’s specials are…
There are times when you want to hear all of the daily specials at a restaurant and there are times when you already knew what you were going to order before you even entered the building.
In the case of the second scenario, it can be quite annoying to have to listen to your waiter unnecessarily explain the entire menu to you. But those seem to be the times when it takes the longest. There should be a button on the table to just skip that part.
He heard everything
Whether we care to admit it or not, everyone has, at some point in their life, spoken badly about another person. Usually, it’s not such a big deal, but sometimes, after saying something nasty about someone else, you turn around and they are standing right behind you.
It is one of the most mortifying experiences there is, and there is very little you can do if the person heard the entire conversation. Judging from this picture, however, it’s not a new problem.
When a song was released in 2015 that contained the lyrics, “Watch me whip,” and “Watch me nay nay,” many people were puzzled. What did it even mean? It turns out that both the “whip” and the “nay nay” are dance moves.
Luckily for fans of classic art memes, these words have other meanings as well. Here, a stagecoach driver is whipping his horse to make him go. “Watch me whip,” he says, to which the horse responds, “Watch me neigh neigh.”
Bach in business
This list would not be complete without a classic Bach meme. The face of renowned composer Johann Sebastian Bach has been replaced with that of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will always be known for his famous line from the action film The Terminator, “I’ll be back.”
Schwarzenegger’s face fits surprisingly well inside of Bach’s head in this portrait. It’s almost too easy to simply replace the word “back” with the name “Bach,” but it doesn’t make it any less hilarious.