Passepartout is all about documentaries and visual stuff I find worth seeing.

17th Century Dutch Humor and What Hid Behind an Apparently Inoffensive Bush

The truth always prevails my dears, that’s what I have to tell you! They tried to cover it up in this 1643 Isack van Ostade’s A Village Fair with a Church Behind painting, and they painted a bush on top of it. But 100 years later, curators spotted the fake, took it off, and revealed the true “artist’s intentions”: a pooper with a dog looking at him. In 1903 when the bush was painted on top of this shameless little fellow, it seemed more appropriate to go about doing such business in a bush I guess. But in the 16th and 17th century this kind of potty jokes in art were apparently quite popular. You don’t have to be a high-brow art lover to appreciate old Dutch paintings, you can also be a ‘Where is Wally?‘ fan and spot for the twist behind them.

A Village Fair, with a Church behindBefore the bush removal, corner down right, dog looking at the bush.

And then…


407234-Van-Ostade-A-Village-Fair-after-1024x757True version after being returned to the original…look.

Partly joke, partly reference to nature being their inspiration, according to Hyperallergic butts were pretty common in the 16th- and 17th-century Dutch paintings. They appear in Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” (c. 1500), Brueghel the Younger’s “Winter Landscape” (1564), and Brueghel the Elder’s “Netherlandish Roverbs” (1559).

800px-The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_by_Bosch_High_ResolutionJheronimus Bosch ‘s The Garden of Earthly Delights

Now, a better reason to get into the 16th/17th century Dutch painters section of the history of art could be the recently opened and very special Jheronimus Bosch exhibition in the painter’s home city, Den Bosch, which I plan to visit very soon and I recommend everyone who can to do so as well. They also made a documentary about the enormous effort to ‘achieve the impossible’ with this exhibition. But of course, if that doesn’t do much for you, I’d say finding these little hidden jokes can be a very good incentive.

Originally found and more about this story here.

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