If you’re going to invoke art history, make sure you get it right
Being Donald Trump at the moment must be such a laugh. Honestly, think about it. You get invited to all of these high level events, like the G7 summit, that most politicians would give a limb to be involved with. And not only that; you’re there as the head of the biggest, richest, most powerful nation there.
And you basically know nothing. You have no idea what’s going on. But - and this is the best bit - no one can point that out to you. Because you’re the head of the biggest, richest, most powerful nation there. So they all have to be nice to you. Even when you manage to turn up late to the gender equality breakfast.
But the best image from the G7 summit, which brought together world leaders from Germany, Japan, Canada, the US, Italy, France and the UK in Charlevoix, Quebec, in Canada, was undoubtedly the now-iconic photo of him sat down, arms crossed, surrounded by fellow G7 leaders, clearly exasperated with him.
As Trump managed to upset nearly everyone with his stance on tariffs, with an agreed joint communique subsequently being rejected by the US president after he fell out with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on Twitter (yes, really), one image went viral, as it managed to capture the essence of Trump’s childlike demeanour.
It was taken by the German cabinet’s official photographer Jesco Denze - and it kicked off a worldwide caption competition:
Merkel: Donald, I need you to listen, can you do that?— Nancy Hetzel (@nancymhet) June 9, 2018
T: Uh huh.
M: This is really important, okay?
T: Mmm huh.
M: I need you to be honest with me, okay?
M: Donald, look at me... Now, did you swallow the quarter or is it still in your mouth? pic.twitter.com/x906ixIQ0f
However, it’s only ever a matter of time before someone on the internet comes up with this comment, and it was duly provided by Pete Forester, amongst others:
Of course, there are many examples of this citation; this drunken scene from New Year’s Eve in Manchester in 2016 being one of them:
But, actually, it turns out that, on this occasion at least, it’s not accurate to say that this is akin to a renaissance painting.
Why? Well, German game developer, and art history graduate Palle Hoffstein is on hand to explain.
This is a Renaissance Painting. The subjects are evenly spaced across the canvas, equidistant to the viewer as if on a stage. The postures are quite mannered instead of natural. This is Primavera by Botticelli btw. pic.twitter.com/MmMug6A0tT— Palle Hoffstein is melting (@Palle_Hoffstein) June 10, 2018
Now here is a Baroque piece. The subjects are positioned naturally in the room, some have their backs to viewer, and postures reflect energy between the subjects. This is Caravaggio btw, a favorite of mine. pic.twitter.com/Gao6qL5xXA— The Internet Proudly Presents: Palle Hoffstein (@Palle_Hoffstein) June 10, 2018
Thank you for letting me get this out of my system.— The Internet Proudly Presents: Palle Hoffstein (@Palle_Hoffstein) June 10, 2018
My parents 30 years ago: Why are you taking art history?— The Internet Proudly Presents: Palle Hoffstein (@Palle_Hoffstein) June 10, 2018
Me: It will come in handy.
*30 years later*
Me: Mom, you'll never guess what happened!
So there you have it. Next time someone says this on the internet, you can step in and correct them with your superior knowledge.
People absolutely love it when you do that.