Ah, memes. They do a wonderful job of encapsulating pop culture, don’t they? Historians, centuries from now, will look back at the memes that went viral each month of each year and be able to pinpoint exactly what the Internet found funny. Salt bae? I love you, man.

But the Internet has also discovered that meme-ifying classical art is just as easy and just as funny. If you look real hard at classical paintings, there are countless hilarious facial expressions that capture modern angst, too. Here are some classical art memes that prove that people back then were just like us!

Art imitating life is oh-so-precious. Each person at this Rockets game has their own story to tell, and tells it beautifully with his or her face. It is a photo as purely dramatic as the Passion of the Christ. Notice the strong diagonals that draw the eye through the narrative; notice the chiarascuro lighting that emphasizes the drama. This belongs in a Renaissance home, no? Stare forever and create your own narrative.

This Knowing Horse

Animals know best, dontcha know? Your dog, cat, hamster (or horse) knows when you are sad; They know when you’re lying (They know when you are sleeping; They know when you’re awake; They know when you’ve been bad or good; So be good, for goodness’ sake!) Moral: people couldn’t lie to their horses back then and we can’t lie to our pets now.

“Open” Minded

This one is so true it’s sad– especially in this turbulent political era. Don’t you wish you could just brutally cut off your head when someone has a terrible opinion (which is probably all the time). What about their head? No? Me neither.

Grammar Nazis

Look, I’m a fan of good grammar as much as the next guy, but this is funny because sometimes people take it TOO FAR and you just need a break. This one screams, “I get it, I get it. So sue me.” It’s also funny because Jesus would never be so sassy. He’s Jesus!

That Awkward Moment

This one has such a rich narrative that could apply to any school today. The guy with the blindfold? That’s the class clown. The guy next to him? That’s the star of the school musical who was too busy learning lines last night to do the reading. Tag your friends – you know it won’t be that hard.

Dat Anxiety

A symptom of this modern age is that everyone and their mother has anxiety. But this classical-era guy sure looks like he has it, too. Notice how he is only vaguely happy before he becomes anxiety-ridden once again. Even though it’s from oh-so long ago, it pretty much describes all of us. Don’t you think?

Passion for the Job

Look, a girl’s gotta eat somehow. If job interviews were true, then this is what they would look like. Look at that proud pomposity as he tells the bare, naked truth: that he just NEEDS MONEY. Period. He’ll do anything for it! He’ll smile and do the job, sure, but underneath? He’s only seein’ food on that table and maybe the free snacks in the kitchen.

Ancient Problem

Don’t you just hate that? Nothing worse than running with your 2D sword and your 2D legs, about to fight the 2D Persians, and realizing that you didn’t turn off that darn oven! Too bad those suckers didn’t have smart homes, because then he could have turned it off ~remotely~ with his iPhone.

Kim K. Has It Right

Sure, this meme promotes body dysmorphia, but isn’t it true? Isn’t that exactly what you look like in the mornings? Like a beautifully cooked pancake? Or perhaps a warm cookie? (For the record, I am sure you are more beautiful than this medieval man. (He’s not real).

Too Much Skin

Props to this Medieval man for just rocking his self-confidence and letting it all go. Haters be damned, amiright? And you KNOW he would be popular in the club. What confidence, what grace! And hey, the current trend is “wear whatever you want,” right? That’s exactly what he’s doin’.


THIS IS HOW IT FEELS and I am sure this evil man is the actual personification of the flu. Also, during flu season I, too, feel like a poor, pitiful little frog. We are all just frogs, standing in front flu demons, trying to escape them, aren’t we? (That’s how the Notting Hill quote goes, right?)

Feminine Mystique

If only women knew how to communicate! If only they were educated enough to string sentences together! Goodness, I feel for those women. If this is still accurate now, I CAN’T. EVEN. IMAGINE. how it was back then. Mansplainers are the literal worst. Let’s talk about.


As life gets busier and busier, self-love is more important than ever. You don’t need no man or woman, GF! You got yourself! And give yourself some loooooooove right there in that mirror. Good people are hard to find these days, so why bother? Just marry yourself! (Side note: don’t you just want that dress? Yes, it probably cuts off circulation and makes it impossible to breath but it’s so pretty.)

Bad Haircut

Ah, the terror of going to a new hairdresser. You say “Give me a trim,” and they take off your whole dang head. It’s practically Sweeney Todd! Even if you give yourself your own haircut, it could easily turn out this way. Who knew everyday tasks were always so risky?

That Rad Beat

I swear this must have been the hardest part about the American Revolution! If you’re passionate enough about drumming to make that your position in the army, then you’re certainly going to be into that beat. What to do, what to do?

True Self

Everyone has something dark hiding under that glittering mask… dun dun dunnnnn. No, but really, I’m sure your vice is probably like never washing your sheets or spraying toothpaste all over the bathroom. Or maybe it’s your mean sense of humor. Whatever it is, if they can’t take you at your worst, then they certainly can’t take you at your best.

MSP Primer sources certain data, including net worth, and premiere information from PopSugar and various other sites.

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