Famous art parodies and parody paintings can be funny, but how and what else is going on behind the paint?

It is a Postmodern world where nothing is new. Everyone has been down the endless amount of rabbit holes on the internet. People have all been on meme binges, looking at gifs for hours, or just surfing for funny images… or even famous art parodies. But it’s all borrowed or even stolen from something else. But this kind of theft is funny. In fact, it can be hysterical. People usually are absorbing hilarious parody paintings, but some images can also use that humor to convey a serious message. What tricks are these artists using to convey their messages through comedy? By stealing images of course. They are icons to be specific. An artist can use a well-known image or work of art and modify it by replacing certain things with other cultural icons. Here are a few famous art parodies of the work by Michelangelo done in the Sistine Chapel in Italy demonstrating how parody can make people recall cultural icons when they view an image… and make them laugh.

Famous Art Parodies


Serious Famous Art Parodies

Harmonia Rosales has gone beyond comedy, beyond farce, and straight to stinging and potent irony with icons of Black females in her famous art parodies. Rosales has flipped chapels and museum completely upside down.

Replacing the white male figures — the most represented — with people I believe have been the least represented can begin to recondition our minds to accept new concepts of human value -Rosales

She has flipped popular icons that have become all too common and has replaced them with their opposing icons. Harmonia Rosales has used parody paintings and the things they makes people think about to remind viewers of not so common cultural icons.

Famous Art Parodies


Funny Parody Paintings

There is still plenty of fun to be had, though, when it comes to using famous art parodies to recall cultural images. This image might just be as benign as the characters it depicts. There seems to be no reason that the characters, Bevis and Butt-Head, from a raunchy comedy that aired on MTV. The placement and choice of the characters are redundant, but the outcome is still humorous. This is a perfect example of how parody paintings and cultural icons can be funny.

Parody Paintings


Clever Parody Paintings

Unlike Bevis and Butt-Head, this parody demonstrates a bit more skill in using cultural icons to portray an idea. This parody is more like a carefully thought out puzzle. The placement is everything. On the right is Jim Hensen, the creator of the Muppets and on the left is the created muppet. The original fresco depicted Adam on the left which was created by God on the right. This carefully thought out placement in one of the best famous art parodies adds another interesting layer to using cultural icons to conjure up ideas in the viewer’s mind.

Written by

Topher is the founder and editor of Culture Hog Magazine. He studies art history and works at the Oakland Museum of California. Topher values strong community and worldwide healing and progress via the arts.



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