From bright and brilliant paintings on standard canvases to eye-popping sculptures made with junkyard trash, the great artists of today and yesterday share their creations in an almost-infinite variety of mediums. Truly, art comes in many different forms.
Still, one Italian artist might just change our understanding of what’s possible. When he picks up a paintbrush and gets to work, you might think he’s gone a little crazy, but that doesn’t stop him from creating masterpieces you have to see…
Artists employ all sorts of mediums to create their work. Some of them use a simple paintbrush to make their masterpieces, while others mold their works out of clay or glass. One thing’s for certain, though: there’s no one correct way to produce art.
Italian artist and photographer Johannes Stötter spent years perfecting his craft, but the canvases he used for his creations were very… unique, to say the least. In fact, it even takes a minute for art connoisseurs to interpret his works…
Johannes was a painter by trade, willing to paint on any canvas, no matter the shape or size, so long as it fits one unusual requirement. See, this bizarre image might look like a photograph of rocks. But it’s not.
In reality, Johannes painted bodies! Using meticulous attention to detail, he carefully concealed his human subjects in still-life arrangements. It took hours to paint his models, but the finished products were nothing short of mind-bending.
Some of Johannes’ models were so camouflaged that you wouldn’t ever know they were there unless someone pointed them out. It took years of practice to learn how to paint the human body like this — so what inspired him to tackle the challenge?
Johannes said his inspiration came from the changing seasons, nature, and everyday objects. He never really had a complete idea of what he was going to paint until the feeling overcame him. Then, he went to work and didn’t stop until his vision was complete.
The way he visualized the world was unlike anything else. All artists have a natural gift to see things in a creative way, but Johannes took art to an entirely new level — and it’s clear that his fans loved it!
The detail that he captured on skin was incredible. The texture didn’t allow for any errors, so Johannes planned his ideas out thoroughly before he even puts one single drop of paint onto his human canvases.
This looks like it’s nothing more than a picture of four people enjoying a nice meal. But, then you see it: a person is lying on the table! Whatever the pattern, Johannes could replicate it perfectly. That marble must’ve really taken some work, though!
Texas Hill Country
This was, arguably, one of his best pieces of work. A quick glance would lead you to believe that this is just a simple photo of two parrots. Take a closer look. Yep, it’s painted people. A masterpiece like this took countless hours to produce.
Johannes was the master of body camouflage, but body paint wasn’t the only way for a person to hide a secret in the paint. In fact, artists have been burying secrets in some of their most famous works for centuries.
Even if you’ve never studied art history, chances are you can recognize the oil-paint swirls of The Starry Night. That’s because there are certain works of art that we all just know. But while the works of the masters might seem familiar, the truth about what they’re hiding goes much further.
Some of the art world’s greatest creators didn’t just make art to please their patrons. They very often hid secrets inside of their work, some of which went undiscovered for centuries! These pieces of art are all classics, but hidden within the paint and marble are secrets even the most studious art historians missed at first…
1. Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is one of the most famous pieces of art ever created. There is so much mystery surrounding Mona Lisa that historians continue to study the painting today, and after all these years she still has secrets to reveal…
In 2015, a French scientist using reflective light technology discovered a portrait of another woman hiding beneath the painting we see now. The underlying portrait is believed to be Da Vinci’s first draft of the famous painting, but it’s difficult to confirm if that belief is true or not.
2. Jan van Eyck, the Netherlandish painter, created the famous Arnolfini Portrait in 1434. The painting depicts Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini, an Italian merchant, and his wife, Constanza Trenta. While the renowned work is impressive in itself, there’s more to the painting than meets the eye…
Take a closer look, you’ll see a mirror centered in the background of the painting. Reflected in the mirror are two other figures who appear to be looking at the Arnolfini’s. Based on our logic of mirrors, one of the figures is presumed to be the artist, Van Eyck, subtly eternalizing himself in the portrait.
3. We can’t talk about art without bringing up the chiseled bod of David. Arguably one of the greatest sculptures of all time, Michelangelo’s statue of David stands 17 feet tall. Seriously, we have to admit, David doesn’t really have a bad angle going for him. But looking up at David does distort one thing that might change the way you consider the work.
David is positioned in a heroic manner. Due to its size, when we admire the statue we are forced to look up at him. His body is anatomical perfection, and, paired with his confident stance, David is often thought to be sculpted as “hero.” Looking at David at eye level reveals a different story. His expression shows concern and fear, which makes sense after all given he is about to engage in a battle with Goliath!
4. This one is a touch macabre. In 1533, Hans Holbein the Younger painted The Ambassadors. The work showcases two rich ambassadors, seemingly healthy and in their prime, surrounded with their fine material goods. While the portrait is strikingly rich in color, the hues defy the underlying message of the work, which is far from vivifying.
Looming at the feet of the ambassadors is an anamorphic perspective of a skull. The skull, with its placement and perspective, seems so stark that it feels like it doesn’t belong in the painting. This piece was intended to hang in a stairwell so, at the angle of ascension, the skull would jump right out at you. The skull was to serve as a memento mori, which translates to, “remember you will die.” So much for a welcome mat, huh?
5. Despite his name, Pieter Bruegel the Elder is not a wizard. Unfortunately. What he is though, is one of the most notable artists of the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting. In 1559, he created the Netherlandish Proverbs. It may look more like a Neanderthal-ish bedlam, but this raucous scene is actually telling a story — 112 stories to be exact!
The artist is known for inserting the absurdity of humanity in his work, and he didn’t miss a beat with this one. The painting literally illustrates 112 different proverbs and sayings from the Netherlands. Some of which include, “To be a pillar biter” and “Armed to the teeth.” But the real proverb here is, if you’re not Dutch, you’re not getting much (at least not much face time in a Bruegel painting)!
6. The Sistine Chapel. You may have heard of it — the big, painted chapel in the Apostolic Palace, nestled in the Vatican City. Well, way back in 1512, Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the story of Genesis across 9 sections of the concave ceiling. Michelangelo’s work would come to be recognized as a cornerstone of high renaissance art. Some speculate that beyond a masterpiece, the artist also left behind a message…
Michelangelo spent many years studying human anatomy. With that deep understanding, the artist was able to depict people with greater realism and insert more cerebral meaning into his paintings. In this famous section, God is surrounded by what looks like a brain. This insinuates that not only did God give Adam life, but also the ability to reason and think.
7. The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci is almost as famous for its rumors of secret meanings as it is for its artistic brilliance. Da Vinci was unique in his genius, and much of that is to due to his vast and diverse passions. Not only an artist, Da Vinci identified as a mathematician, scientist, inventor, and even a musician.
And when a fellow musician admired Da Vinci’s work, he noticed something peculiar. When the five lines of a musical staff are drawn across the supper, the bread rolls combined with the apostle’s hands create musical notes. When you follow Da Vinci’s signature style of right-to-left, the notes make up a 40-second musical composition.
8. Vincent Van Gogh created Café Terrace at Night in 1888, a scene so charming, you can almost hear accordions. Some art historians have a different take on this painting though. There are theories that posit this café might have a more symbolic impetus, coming from the son of a Protestant minister…
There have been many comparisons with Van Gogh’s Café Terrace and Da Vinci’s Last Supper. The central figure in white is thought to be a representation of Jesus, while the dark figure in the doorway is speculated to represent Judas.
9. There is a good story here, but first let’s take a moment to appreciate the name of this painting’s creator, Hieronymus Bosch. Ohhh, it’s so good! Hieronymus Bosch is the creator behind this triptych oil painting titled, The Garden of Earthly Delights. What is even more delightful are the secret, behind-the-scenes notes…
These notes, found on the bottom of a tortured soul in the “hell panel” of the painting, translate into approximately 28 seconds of what can only be described as a reject Nokia ringtone. This melody is widely referred to as “the butt-song from hell.”
10. The legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo had a husband who was, apparently, a painter as well. Just kidding, Diego Rivera is totally a big shot. Due to his notoriety, in the early 1940s, Nelson Rockefeller commissioned Rivera to paint a mural, Man at the Crossroads for the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Alas, even the richest of the rich don’t always get exactly what they want…
Young Rockefeller didn’t appreciate the inclusion of the communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in the mural, so he had the painting destroyed. In response, Rivera re-created the mural in 1943 in Mexico city and titled it, Man, the Center of the Universe. Not only was Lenin even more prominently featured in this mural, but Rivera, not so coyly, painted in Rockefeller’s father below the bacterial illustration of syphilis.