Pastiche? Mash-up? The best form of flattery? Whatever you want to call it, artists have enjoyed riffing on historical paintings for ages. For some, it’s a fun way to learn and explore issues of color, composition, and application of paint by intimately copying from a master. For others, it’s a means to tap into the feelings and emotions already assoctiated with the original image, (for humour or drama.) Seeing John Mattos’ great modernist takes on Star Wars made me want to seek out other views of science fiction via the classics. Here’s what I found....
Abbott Handerson Thayer, often noted as a painter of angels, punked up a bit by Greg Manchess. Unrelated but interesting, Thayer invented camouflage. (Greg’s version is available as a desktop wallpaper.)
It’s a tough race to see what has been parodied more: the Mona Lisa, American Gothic, or Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Here is Michael Whelan’s extra charming take on the David classic for Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson’s novel Hoka.
There are numberous renditions of Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want,” part of his series based on Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms.” I couldn’t pass up this one from Carlos Pacheco, utilizing the most wholesome, all-American superheroes for this all-American scene.
Marvel did a marvelous (sorry) series of Wolverine paintings done in various styles. You should check them all out. This one by Paolo Rivera after Salvador Dali’s famous “The Persistence of Memory” (better known as That-Melting-Clock-Painting.)
Alan Beck has been charming con-goers for a long while with his Mouseopolitan Museum of Art — American, European, and pre-historic art, as well as movie classics, are all subject to Alan’s mouse-ification. Here we see John Singer Sargent’s scandalous (at the time) Madame X and Johannes Vermeer’s Lacemaker.
Irene Gallo is the art director of Tor Books.