Reddit, Florence 1400
October 10, 2015 9:32 AM   Subscribe

A year ago, someone took a well-composed photo of a fight in Ukranian Parliament. This prompted the creation of a small subreddit that finds photos (many soccer-related), that look like they're from the Renaissance - r/AccidentalRenaissance. Here are a few post samples: Pence & Morse * Ukraine * The Orchestration of Heisenberg * Maldini * The Accused, Etc.
posted by growabrain (45 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
 
If anyone in the Ukrainian Parliament is doing requests can we please get Rosso Fiorentino's "Moses Defending the Daughters of Jethro"?
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:39 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be fair, a lot of these are accidental Romanticism.
posted by Dreadnought at 9:48 AM on October 10, 2015 [30 favorites]


I wish there was more information with the pictures on what makes them great. That first example, which explains why the photo is well composed is really interesting. The rest of them are certainly nice photos, but as someone who doesn't really know much about composition, I have no way of knowing why.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:50 AM on October 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Stay golden ratio, Fibonacci boy.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:57 AM on October 10, 2015 [21 favorites]


Yeah, seconding jacquilynne - the idea is sound and the photos wonderful, but we need a bit more explanation or illustration as to why these are Accidental Renaissance.

The internet continues to delight me.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:09 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


That Maldini photo has everything. EVERYTHING.
posted by selfnoise at 10:18 AM on October 10, 2015 [16 favorites]


I guess from what I've seen I would explain it as "a scene that was clearly painted from posed models, but is meant to depict motion and drama, but through stillness manages to convey the continuum of the drama from beginning to end".
posted by selfnoise at 10:20 AM on October 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


maldini + deep dream = ???
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:28 AM on October 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like how his facial expression works equally well as WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM or as OMG WHAT IS GROWING OUT OF MY ARM
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:31 AM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, yeah, a lot of the shots are interesting or good but aren't really 'painterly'. The biggest pitfall is the framing around the edges of the images which often feels much more haphazard in a photo. Often a painting will have a sense of the broader panorama around the central action, whereas photos have a tendancy to feel 'tight' thanks to journalists liberal use of telephoto lenses.

Some of the ones that really feel like paintings to me:

1 2 3 4
posted by selfnoise at 10:36 AM on October 10, 2015 [29 favorites]




Well this should make for a fine project for upcoming MiFi meetups!
posted by sammyo at 10:44 AM on October 10, 2015


The backs of peoples' heads in the foreground also seems like something you wouldn't find in a painting (example, I get why that's interesting but the composition is thrown off by the two guys in front with their backs to the camera). Maybe I'm wrong though; I know basically nothing about art history.
posted by indubitable at 10:45 AM on October 10, 2015


This way lies madness Peter Greenaway.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:47 AM on October 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


To my (totally uneducated) eye, the Ukrainian Parliament one achieves its Renaissanceness in large part from the look of the cloth, and somehow from the hand positions. The others linked here lack these elements and seem much, much less Renaissancey to me.
posted by stebulus at 10:48 AM on October 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


(which disappoints me a bit, because the Parliament one is so so good)
posted by stebulus at 10:51 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


And this is why we pay attention to Reddit: the needle of gold in the haystack of shit.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:55 AM on October 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


The backs of peoples' heads in the foreground also seems like something you wouldn't find in a painting (example, I get why that's interesting but the composition is thrown off by the two guys in front with their backs to the camera). Maybe I'm wrong though; I know basically nothing about art history.

I think depending on the period they might have been there, but they wouldn't have obstructed the view of Obama/Putin and they certainly wouldn't be painted as radically out of focus. I can kind of imagine a painting with the perspective tilted so you can see the table and the foreground figures are thereby below the line of Obama/Putin.
posted by selfnoise at 11:05 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


To my (totally uneducated) eye, the Ukrainian Parliament one achieves its Renaissanceness in large part from the look of the cloth, and somehow from the hand positions. The others linked here lack these elements and seem much, much less Renaissancey to me.

It's the cloth, it's the wood, it's the flesh, it's the light, and it's the composition. All the others...yeah, nothing much at all, really.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:17 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of these look Reanissance-like because the people are in poses that are reminiscent of people in old-timey pictures. Attending to someone who has a bowed head is one of them. So is having a haunted, martyred expression (though I thought that was a Russian Orthodox thing?)
posted by Apocryphon at 11:29 AM on October 10, 2015


Love these. Beatles edition.
posted by colie at 11:44 AM on October 10, 2015


> maldini + deep dream = ???
Rudy Rucker book cover
posted by morganw at 11:45 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lawrence Weschler has a whole book about this sort of thing. It's called Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences. An excerpt, with Weschler interviewing Joel Meyerowitz about his photographs of Ground Zero:
Joel Meyerowitz: I have to say, taking photographs is such an instantaneous act. The recognition and acting on the recognition, depending on your equipment, is close to instantaneous. No more time than three minutes elapsed between recognizing the capacity of this image to connect and provoke me and then setting up the big camera and putting in the film. All of that was within three minutes. If it were a small camera [snaps his fingers three times], it would have been instantaneous. Take a breath, you take a picture. But it definitely registered flaglike.

Lawrence Weschler: But isn’t that the whole point about photography, how it’s instantaneous, more or less? It’s not something you set up. Can you talk about how the reservoir of things you’ve seen prepares you to see other things? Or at any rate prepares you to see them in particular ways. By the way, I don’t think that’s unique to you, I think it’s true of all artists, and I’m just using this as an example and a particularly vivid one, precisely because you were being thrown into vistas of such chaos and overwhelming horror, a place where you might otherwise have been expected to be overwhelmed by the chaos of feelings and sensations. Somehow, you are gifted with this tradition that you carry with you, that you can fall back on, or that prepares you to see things. Does that make sense to you?

JM: Absolutely. None of us are free of references. And when you grow up in the world of art, things stick to you. I’m covered with imagery that has meant something to me, that has caught my attention over time, certainly they’re swirling around me at all times, like the moons of Saturn. I’m not always sure I’m identifying anything, but they make a composite of me, as well as things I have seen in the real world, gestures that I may not have had time to photograph, but even they stick with me as great moments of beauty that I have missed. So when I see them again, I am awakened, because I want to be faster this time, I want to get them this time. But dealing not only with the things one misses, one is always carrying a chapbook of images around.

LW: Frank Gehry once told me that he never passes a Dumpster, walking down the street, without looking in and Hoovering up the shapes—that was his word—the random shapes, and he has this whole repository of bent and twisted shapes to draw on.

JM: And you can see from his work that he has found a vocabulary of those shapes: He likes the clashing and the asymmetries and randomness of that. For a street photographer like myself, randomness is everything, because that’s one thing the world has in abundance, and I am just passing through it with my snare. My camera is a snare. I can throw this sieve out there and I can capture things in it. And risking that gesture all the time is part of the joy of seeing...
posted by oulipian at 11:55 AM on October 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


I want to learn to paint in oils purely in order to fake a Renaissance masterpiece of Snoop Dogg With Pineapple.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:15 PM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


When they're good, they're great - but not a lot of them are, strictly speaking, really very Renaissance at all.

Selfnoise's 1 channels Paolo Uccello some, but OP's Ukranian parliament is already Mannerist, "Pence & Morce" too (of the Venetian school, I'd say); "Maldini" is more Caravaggio than Dürer, selfnoise's 3 is Romanticism (as per Dreadnought), and "Ukraine" perhaps Delacroix.

So AccidentalMasters, more like?

(And: thanks oulipian, v interesting.)
posted by progosk at 12:27 PM on October 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Pallas Athena: I want to learn to paint in oils purely in order to fake a Renaissance masterpiece of Snoop Dogg With Pineapple.

That feels like a piece shot by Kehinde Wiley for one of his works.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:38 PM on October 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Obligatory.
posted by signal at 1:47 PM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is my new favorite thing. But yeah, not very Renaissance.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 1:50 PM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]




That Pence & Morse one has some serious John the Baptist action happening.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:29 PM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I judge stuff. This is very good stuff. At worst, it is still good stuff.
posted by hexatron at 3:37 PM on October 10, 2015


"but OP's Ukranian parliament is already Mannerist, "

I was all about to go WHATS ALL THIS MANNERIST HORSESHIT but only to get some shouting out of a liberal arts undergrad.

Oulipan's quote gets at a lot of it: Most photographers have a decent sense of image (if not art) history, and can recognize things really quickly. (Though I call BS on the "instantaneous" mythology they're giving there — there are tons of photos, even news photos or shots that are nominally in the moment, that are carefully orchestrated.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:42 PM on October 10, 2015


You know, even for the usual low standards of fibonacci bullshit, the "well-composed photo of a fight in Ukranian Parliament" fibonacci bullshit is bullshit. So you can draw a spiral through a guys eye, 2 hands and somewhere near the back of another guy's head? Big whoop, that's not what composition is about.
posted by signal at 4:43 PM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


signal--engineers love the golden ratio. It's so irrational. Leave them alone. Never mention negative space--they do not, and can not, believe in it. Do not discuss forces--force has too many meanings already. Remember: it's rule of thirds for civilians, golden ratio for sciency types, and for the rest of us—I have already said too much.
posted by hexatron at 4:54 PM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oo- I just found one! The Examination of Giorgio Chiellini.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:56 PM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The curators of the Grauniad's "20 photographs of the week" apply a well-studied aesthetic canon, so there are a lot of potential candidates there, too. Other principally image-based news sites work much the same, since their function is premised precisely on images that elevate events to a higher signifying (or at least higher impacting) plane.

The subreddit could then take it to the next level by this further serendipitous connoisseuring sub-selection - but that's only (by its nature, I guess) rather sporadically the case.
posted by progosk at 3:37 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


This one from the Australian parliament last month is pretty good.
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 3:57 AM on October 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


indubitable: The backs of peoples' heads in the foreground also seems like something you wouldn't find in a painting

Velázquez 1 with bonus horse butt in the foreground | Velázquez 2 | Caravaggio | Rubens 1 (NSFW) | Rubens 2 (NSFW either)
posted by sukeban at 4:48 AM on October 11, 2015


Ohh this reminded me of a small and wonderful selection of "accidental Reinaissance" photos chosen by Guardian readers, including one of Berlusconi that is just incredible.

(Warning: there's also a shocking picture in there of a Spanish bullfighter getting gored, Julio Aparicio, but amazingly he recovered well - I doubt the photo would have been in there otherwise)

But the Maldini one is so not Renaissance! You'd have never seen anyone giving the finger in a Renaissance painting.
posted by bitteschoen at 5:30 AM on October 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Warning: there's also a shocking picture in there of a Spanish bullfighter getting gored

There's actually a better version (better composition-wise and for the sake of this discussion) where you can see the whole bull with Aparicio's cape over its head, and Aparicio is on his knees in the sand, but I'll be goddamned if I'm going to google it for you, I am still way too traumatized from the slow-motion replays that were all over the news here when it happened.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 6:59 AM on October 11, 2015


There's actually a better version (better composition-wise and for the sake of this discussion) where you can see the whole bull

I believe you mean this, which is from the reverse angle (rather than this one, which is just the uncropped wide of the one in the Guardian selection).
posted by progosk at 8:50 AM on October 11, 2015


You'd have never seen anyone giving the finger in a Renaissance painting.

Whereas by the Baroque...
posted by progosk at 8:59 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Warning: there's also a shocking picture in there of a Spanish bullfighter getting gored, Julio Aparicio, but amazingly he recovered well

They have some *very* specialized and experienced ER rooms in bullfighting rings to stabilize wounded bullfighters, Juan José Padilla had another very spectacular and gory cogida in my town that left him one-eyed (hint: yep THAT gory so don't look it up if you're squeamish) but he's still working as a bullfighter.

posted by sukeban at 10:01 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


After seeing this mediocre example marred by the infoboxes, I kinda want to see the inverse of this, and desecrate various paintings with Network Logos, news feed ticker symbols, and other overlays.
posted by pwnguin at 12:36 PM on October 11, 2015


"The backs of peoples' heads in the foreground also seems like something you wouldn't find in a painting (example, I get why that's interesting but the composition is thrown off by the two guys in front with their backs to the camera). Maybe I'm wrong though; I know basically nothing about art history."

The German term of art, slight pun intended, is Rückenfigur, literally "back figure," and is often used to give a point of view to the audience.

" Rubens 1 (NSFW) | Rubens 2 (NSFW either)"

Boo on using NSFW. It ain't Gustav Corbet.

You'd have never seen anyone giving the finger in a Renaissance painting.

I was actually kinda surprised that I couldn't find any, since the impudent digit has been iconography back to Roman times. But while I could find statues from antiquity, I couldn't track down any from the actual Renaissance.
posted by klangklangston at 6:59 PM on October 11, 2015


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