CULTURE & ARTS
08/04/2015 09:38 am ET

Famous Paintings Paired With BuzzFeed Headlines Are Winning Art History

23 secrets a man with a quilted sleeve won't tell you.
Matthew Britton

Sometimes, the titles of famous paintings are hilariously underwhelming.

We refer to Rembrandt's memorable portrait of his son as "Titus van Rijn in a Monk's Habit" (or "Titus as a Monk") because, well, that's exactly what it is. Then there's Sandro Botticelli's "Portrait of a Man with a Medal of Cosimo the Elder," which is, yeah, pretty on point. But pretty tedious too.

Enter Matthew Britton, who's taken it upon himself to replace the dull and unvaried titles of famous paintings with the Internet-savvy headlines of BuzzFeed and other online media outlets. Think "23 Secrets A Man With A Quilted Sleeve Won't Tell You." Clicked on it. Or "Do You Want A Picture Of Two Girls Dressing A Kitten By Candlelight To Make Your Day Better?" Yes, please.

"Old Masters BuzzFeed was inspired by the underwhelming titles given to famous works of art," Britton explained in an email to The Huffington Post. "I wondered how these titles would have to be updated to survive in the current clickbait climate. I thought by amalgamating these titles with pre-existing BuzzFeed headlines, I would question the ephemeral nature of content these days."

Britton is an self-described Internet artist ("and/or an artist [who] is inspired by Internet culture") whose past online projects have appropriated out-of-office emails as art and brought together anonymous users in a giant collaborative painting endeavor. This time around, he's resurfacing artworks made before the 1800s -- many of which likely went untitled from the start -- and tacking on enticing headlines that appeal to today's generation of Tumblr users.

"The capabilities for news outlets to emphasize certain information over others makes them the controller of the canon of art of tomorrow," Britton added.

Of course, he has a sense of humor about the inspiration behind art history memes. "It just seemed like a funny thing to do," he concluded.

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