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Small Reference Pools: Art
  • All paintings are oil on canvas. All but murals. You very rarely get to see some graphic art like engravings or even just simple pen-and-ink-drawings.
  • If a famous painter is mentioned, expect one of these to be name dropped: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri De Toulouse Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol. Picasso is probably the most (mis/ab)used because of his recognizable style and strong association with cubism, which is still perceived as somewhat snobbish and a prime example of True Art Is Incomprehensible.
    • Many other notable painters in history tend to get swept under the rug as well, including Juan Ramirez, Jose Luzan, Luis Melendez, Antonio Gonzalez Velazquez, Francisco Bayeu, Jose Del Castillo, Mariano Salvador Maella, Ramon Bayeu, Luis Paret Y Alcazar, Francisco Goya, Antonio Carnicero, Asensio Julia, Agustin Esteve, Zacarias Gonzalez Velazquez, Vincente Lopez Portana, Eugenio Lucas, Guiseppe Maria Crespi, Alessandro Magnasco, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Pietro Longhi, Corrado Giaquinto, Francesco Guardi, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Giacomo Ceruti, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Lorenzo Baldissera Tiepolo, Paolo Borroni, Sir Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, Thomas Rowlandson, William Blake, J.M.W. Turner, John Constable, Jean Ranc, Michel-Ange Houasse, Antoine Watteau, Francois Boucher, Louis-Michel Van Loo, Jean-Baptise Greuze, Jean-Honore Fragonard, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, Jacques Louis David, Pierre Prud'Hon, Antoine-Jean Gros, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, Theodore Gericault, Camille Corot, Eugene Delacroix, Honcre Daumier, Edouard Manet, Anton Raphael Mengs, Juan Andres Mercklein, John Henry Fusel, Caspar David Friedrich, Johann Nepomuk Kaspar, John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, John Trumbull, Raphael Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Washington Allston, Thomas Sully, John James Audubon, Samuel F.B. Morse, George Catlin, Thomas Cole, William Sidney Mount, Hans Multscher, Stephan Lochner, Meister Francke, Lucas Moser, Conrad Witz, Michael Wolgemut, Michael Pacher, Rueland Frueauf the Elder, Veit Stoss, Martin Schongauer, Hans Pleydenwurff, Hans Holbein the Elder, Bernard Strigel, Grunewald, Albrecht Durer, Lucas Cranach the elder, Hans Burgkmair, Jorg Breu, Hans Seuss Von Kulmbach, Albrecht Altdorfer, Hans Schaufelein, Leonhard Beck, Hans Baldung Grien, Wolf Traut, Hanns Durer, Hans Springinklee, Wolf Huber, Barthel Bruyn, Hans Holbein the Younger, Georg Pencz, Sebald Beham, Barthel Beham, Enguerrand Quarton, Jean Fouquet, Simon Marmion, The Master of King Rene D'Anjou, Nicholas Froment, Maitre De Moulins, Jean Clouet, Jean Duvet, Francois Clouet, Robert Campin, Jan Van Eyck, Rogier Van Der Weyden, Petrus Christus, Dirck Bouts, Hans Memling, Hugo Van Der Goes, Hieronymus Bosch, Gerard David, Geertgen Tot Sint Jans, Quentin Massys, Mabuse Jan Gossaert, Joachim Patinier, Joos Van Cleve, Bernard Van Orley, Lucas Van Leyden, Jan Van Scorel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Fra Filippo Lippi, Piero Della Francesca, Gentile Bellini, Antonello Da Messina, Giovanni Bellini, Antonio Pollaiuolo, Andrea Mantegna, Jacopo De' Barbari, Luca Signorelli, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirllandaio, Vittore Carpaccio, Fra Bartolommeo, Michelangelo, Giorgione, Andrea Del Sarto, Correggio, Pontormo, Francesco Parmigianino, Jacopo Tintoretto, Rembrandt Van Rjin, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Henri De Toulouse Loutrec, Auguste Rodin, Bartholdi, Rodin, Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Raphael, Donatello, Monet, Sandro Botticelli, Grant Wood, Edvard Munch, James Whistler, Georgia O Keefe, Alphonse Mucha, Edward Hopper, L.S. Lowry, Rene Magritte, Gustav Klimt, Titian, Cecil Bell, and Francisco Goya.
    • Don't expect many, if any, artists on these lists to be brought up either.
  • If a visually recognizable painter is needed, it will be probably one of those guys:
    • DalÝ (because of his moustache).
    • Warhol (because of his glasses and haircut)
    • Van Gogh (because of his missing ear)
    • Toulouse-Lautrec (because of his small size)
  • Sculptors, sculptures, statues and monuments:
    • Classical Greek and Roman statues are still in our minds as the model to be followed and the ideal of beauty and form, as far as statues go. They were originally painted with vivid colours, but Classicism admired their simplicity and the elegance of white colour. It has stuck, hasn't it?
    • The statues of Ancient Egypt are very memorable and recognizable. For instance the statue of Queen Nefertiti. Her headband just screams Ancient Egypt. Have a look here.
    • Famous sculptors? There is usually just one name to be dropped, and that is Auguste Rodin. But there are enough statues available by other less name-drop-able artists.
    • Michelangelo's David. Mr. Fanservice among the statues since the Renaissance. If tourists in fiction go to Italy and want to see some art, they will want to see David.
    • Venus de Milo. Her arms that broke off have probably made her even more famous than she would have been otherwise. A gorgeous ancient Greek statue of a goddess with naked upper part of her body. Quite a specimen of Ms. Fanservice.
    • Discus Thrower (aka Discobolus). A portrait of an athlete depicting the beauty of movement and sport. A much-referenced and imitated Greek statue by Myron.
    • Bartholdi's The Statue Of Liberty. The image of Eagle Land and a good way to introduce Big Apple Sauce.
    • Mount Rushmore. Four faces of American Presidents in a freaking mountain. Awesome! Very frequently, this is the image of Eagle Land.
    • Lincoln's Monument
    • Rodin's The Thinker. It has been imitated countless times as a Stock Pose. Rodin actually took it from Classical Greece. People positioned similarly are generally meant to convey introspection and melancholy.
    • The Kiss.
  • Rembrandt Van Rijn: His painting The Night Watch is rather well-known and recognizable.
  • Vincent van Gogh:
    • Starry Night
    • Sunflowers: Iconic painting of yellow flowers. They are gorgeous, but they are really just pretty flowers in a vase. The man was a genius. It's known as one of the most expensive paintings ever sold to a private collector.
    • It is a truth universally acknowledged that every shrink, ever, has a Van Gogh reproduction in their office. Most commonly, people expect Sunflowers or The Scream, forgetting that the latter is NOT Van Gogh.
  • Picasso only ever made cubism. Specifically cubism that resembles Les demoiselles d'avignon. Not only that, but he's also the only cubist ever. He was actually a master of realistic painting because you can stylize only if you know forms and shapes perfectly. Cubism in particular is abused by characters (in-universe). They are likely to state that True Art Is Incomprehensible or if they like it, they might be suspected to be snobs who only pretend that.
  • Andy Warhol: His name equals Pop Art. Usually you will see referenced just his color palette swaps portraits or his giant soup cans.
    • About the only other pop artist who's ever referenced is Roy Lichtenstein, for his paintings that look like comic book panels run through a color photocopier with the Enlarge setting turned Up to Eleven.
  • Jackson Pollock: Usually played for fun; one character will express high-flown opinions about Art, then another will say that the first is talking a load of Jackson Pollocks. Or a character will mistake his name for the ethnic slur for Polish people. His splashy paintings and unique method was not referenced before 1990.
  • Once in a great while, Piet Mondrian, probably not by name, just a visual reference to one of his "Composition" paintings that are all straight black lines on white canvas with certain areas filled in with a solid primary color.
  • Norman Rockwell: All the people in his paintings are white. The Problem We All Live With is hardly ever shown, possibly because it doesn't exactly depict "traditional values" in a flattering light.
  • Leonardo da Vinci:
    • Mona Lisa: When Mona Lisa is portrayed, it tends to be large and on canvas, rather than small and painted on wood. Also, if people in fiction go to Louvre, all they want to see is this painting.
    • The Last Supper is famous enough to become a Stock Pose. See "Last Supper" Steal.
    • He has a ninja turtle named after him.
  • Michelangelo:
    • He painted the Sistine Chapel. Expect to see especially his portrait of God creating David, giving him life by touching his finger. A Stock Pose based on this image is called Sistine Steal.
    • David, his gorgeous sculpture. Quite the Mr. Fanservice of the Renessaince.
    • The PietÓ, a sculpture of Virgin Mary with Jesus taken from the cross. Even though Michelangelo actually did three different PietÓs and other sculptors had done the motif earlier. It is a Stock Pose called PietÓ Plagiarism.
    • Yet another ninja turtle namesake.
  • Raphael: His Sistine Madonna, and in particular the two little puttos on the lower frame. He has a ninja turtle named after him.
  • Donatello: Probably only because they named a ninja turtle after him.
  • French impressionists:
    • They are used in fiction fairly frequently. They evoke high class European art. However, Athena-brand poster print of one of the more well-known Impressionist works are particularly cliched examples. They have been the default wall decoration of the mousey middle-class British female first-year university student since the Sixties.
    • Monet: Monet's Poppies Blooming. See it here.
    • Monet's many variants of water-lilies.
    • Renoir's Bal du Moulin de la Galette. Have a look. Also, "Luncheon of the Boating Party."
  • H. R. Giger, for a scary piece.
  • Salvador Dali: Known only for melted clocks. They appear everywhere.
  • Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus. Ms. Fanservice of the Art World since the Renaissance. The beautiful blond lady who is naked standing on a big shell. Ladies from his other paintings resemble his Venus, but this painting is the most referenced.
  • Grant Wood's American Gothic. A famous case of Art Imitates Art and a stock pose troped as American Gothic Couple.
    • Expect people who don't know the name of the painting to call it "that painting of the farmer and his wife." Nevermind the woman depicted in the painting is supposed to be the man's daughter.
  • Edvard Munch's The Scream. It is the image of European expressionism and a trope image of The Scream. The distorted face and twisted lines are effectively creepy. The film franchise Scream did not reference the painting by its name only. The mask of the killer and the face is recognizable.
  • James Whistler's Whistler's Mother, which is actually called Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1. It pops up as one of the most typical American painting.
  • M.C. Escher is known (especially his Relativity) but is always without exception a "painter"; there is no such thing as a printmaker.
  • Georgia O'Keefe's flowers. The rest of her massive body of work is likely to be ignored.
  • Art Nouveau = Alphonse Mucha. His paintings have been reproduced on everything. Mostly only his posters and figurative paintings are shown, and the rest of his work is ignored.
  • Hopper's Nighthawks.
  • In the UK: L S Lowry's "Matchstalk Men".
  • Famous photographers? Let's see...
    • Ansel Adams (for that weird "balancing rock" photo)
    • Richard Avedon (for all those immortal images of The Beatles)
    • Alfred Eisenstadt (for the snapshot of the sailor smooching the nurse)
    • Dorothea Lange (for her pix of haggard-faced Dust Bowl migrants)
    • Robert Mapplethorpe (because he worked in porn)
    • Abraham Zapruder (technically more of a home-movie filmmaker)
    • Matthew Brady and Jacob Riis will have to be mentioned if American history is being discussed. Otherwise, forget it.
    • No mention of poor Louis Daguerre, even though he invented photography.
  • Who's the most famous fictional photographer? Austin Powers, baby, yeah! - but only film buffs remember that he was directly modeled on the protagonist of Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966). The most famous fictional female photographer is probably Vicki Vale, and only because of her depictions in the 1989 blockbuster Batman film and the 1949 serial Batman and Robin (whereas in the comics themselves, she was never more than a semi-regular character at best).

Notable aversions and exceptions to this trope:

  • Lampshaded in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Vamps are preying on college freshmen, killing them and stealing everything from their dorms. They have a running contest to see which artist has the most posters: Monet or Klimt. Monet is winning, if only because the only Klimt people have posters of is The Kiss.
  • Subverted inThe Autobiography of Jane Eyre, episode "Critical Examinations of Art" (episode 5). Jane teaches her little brilliant student Adele about modern art styles and important painters, and Adele made pictures in these styles with crayons. At first they are pretty standard like Picasso's cubism, abstract art, Gustav Klimt, or Vincent van Gogh, but she also painted her dog in pointillism, and her last picture looks like it was inspired by the painting The Son of Man by surrealist RenÚ Magritte. It's a man whose face is obscured by an apple. Though in-universe, it's not sure Adele knows about that painting because it's presented as a picture of her father, which is rather disturbing.

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