11 Fun, Silly, Weird and Far Out Monet Tributes

Today would have been Claude Monet’s 172nd birthday, so in honor of one of the world’s most influential impressionists, here are a few tributes to his famous works of art.

1. Land of Misfit Toys

We just had an article about recycled art yesterday, but we didn’t include Tom Deininger, another talented artist specializing in the use of discarded toys. Here’s what happens when a pile of old plastic toys and trash come together to form “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies.” While most of the pieces are too small to see without coming in for a more detailed shot, you can probably at least spot the Sponge Bob Squarepants toy in the top right.

2. Modern Art

It’s hard to say if Monet would've approved of Banksy’s graffiti or his political message, but there’s no doubt that Banksy has been inspired to some extent by the impressionist. In fact, he has even taken to recreating Monet’s classic “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies” with the modern addition of abandoned shopping carts and traffic cones sitting in the waterway. The name of the doctored piece? “Show Me the Monet.”

This piece is one of many that the famous graffiti artist has snuck in and hung in famous art galleries and museums around the world.

3. Toon Tribute

The Simpsons have mimicked just about every top artist of the last 2000 years and seeing Bart get a ride along the artist’s famous garden bridge only serves to show just how relevant Monet’s work remains in modern times.

4. Having A Ball

Claude Cormier & Associates Inc. used over 90,000 plastic balls to create this amazing replica of the wisteria blooms that Monet was so fond of painting throughout the years. The creation was designed to help Le Havre celebrate their Contemporary Art Biennale with a tribute to the city’s most famous native.

5. Building Blocks

It’s hard to capture a lot of detail in a Lego creation, but the blurriness of this remake of Monet’s 1873 “Impression, Soleil Levant” by William Keckler only makes it a more suitable tribute to the impressionist.

6. 8-Bit Impressionism

Ever wish you could see what Monet’s work would look like if it were recreated in the 8-bit video game world of the past? Well, artist Jaebum Joo is here to help by reinterpreting “Study of a Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol, facing left” as a classic game image.

7. Dutch Treat

These days, you aren’t anyone if you haven’t had an artistic cake designed to look like you or your work. Fortunately, Flickr user Megpi helped further secure Monet’s place in history with this lovely recreation of his famous “Tulip Fields With The Rijnsburg Windmill.”

8. Nerd Alert

Like cake dedications, any famous artist of the past is destined to have a few geek interpretations of their work. This “Darth Vader With A Parasol” painting by David Barton is a perfect blend of classic Monet and 20th century pop culture.

9. Meow-nay

Not even a classic impressionist like Monet can escape the internet’s cat obsession. Here is artist Svetlana Petrova’s take on “Haystacks at Giverny” with her little Zarathustra taking over for the haystack.

10. Invasion

What happens when Voltron invades “Les Coquelicots a Argenteuil?” Well, while you might expect a lot of screaming and terror at the sight of the giant robot, according to artist Hillary White, things seem to go on pretty much as usual—just with a massive robot blocking out much of the scenery.

11. The Comic Connection

To help promote the release of The Avengers, Marvel decided to publish a number of variant covers for some of their most popular titles this April. All of the titles were inspired by famous artworks of the past and while this variant of Avengers Assemble #2 by Stephanie Hans doesn’t seem to be based on any particular Monet painting (although it could be one I’m just not familiar with), it’s immediately obvious that the style was definitely inspired by the impressionist’s great body of work.

What do you guys think of these tributes? Are they sad attempts at capitalizing on the work of one of the world’s most famous artists? Or are they fitting dedications to someone who has influenced the art world so, so much? Also, if you happen to know of any other tributes not listed here, feel free to tell us about them in the comments.

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5-Year-Old Boy Hugs, Then Destroys, a $132,000 Sculpture When His Parents Aren't Looking
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A 5-year-old boy's playful mistake may end up costing his parents a small fortune. As ABC News reports, the boy knocked over and destroyed a valuable piece of art on display in the lobby of the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. Now, the city's insurance company is asking them to pay for it.

The parents were preparing to leave a wedding reception as their son was filmed running around the building's lobby. At one point in the security footage, he can be seen stopping to embrace a sculpture, titled Aphrodite di Kansas City, which causes it to fall towards him and onto the ground.

According to Overland Park's insurance company, the piece was damaged irreparably by the fall. It had been listed at a price of $132,000, and a few days after the incident, the parents received a claim asking them to cover the entire cost.

“You’re responsible for the supervision of a minor child […] your failure to monitor could be considered negligent,” the letter read.

The couple disputed the accusation, instead blaming the community center for not better securing the sculpture. As for the chances of the Aphrodite di Kansas City being repaired or rebuilt, local artist Bill Lyons said it isn't likely. He spent two years creating the original piece, and after declaring it permanently destroyed, he told ABC News he doesn't have the drive or capacity to make a new one.

It isn't just rambunctious 5-year-olds who have been known to ruin expensive art. Grown-up museum visitors, whether they're tripping over untied shoelaces or getting in position for the perfect selfie, can be just as destructive.

[h/t ABC News]

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8 Things You Might Not Know About The Wizard of Id
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Titan Books

Debuting in 1964, Brant Parker and Johnny Hart’s The Wizard of Id took a page from the macabre humor of cartoonist Charles Addams. Ruling the kingdom of Id, a pint-sized tyrant uses humor to disarm a medieval cast made up of a jester, an executioner, a thief, and the titular magician, whose spells don’t usually impress. Although Hart and Parker both passed away in 2007, their black humor lives on. Take a look at some facts behind the throne, including the time Jim Henson almost brought it to television.

1. THE IDEA FOR THE STRIP CAME FROM A DECK OF PLAYING CARDS.

Johnny Hart was already a successful syndicated cartoonist (the Stone Age comedy B.C.) before he and former Disney animator Brant Parker decided to collaborate on a different project. Hart was flipping through a deck of playing cards in 1964 when he came across a peculiar illustration used for the king. Drawing on it to create his own diminutive despot, Hart wrote most of the jokes for Id while Parker illustrated it.

2. THE SYNDICATE THOUGHT THE TWO ARTISTS WERE DISGUSTING.

Although Id would eventually be syndicated to over 1000 strips across the country, Hart and Parker first had to get past the gatekeepers of cartoon distribution operating out of New York. Traveling to the city to show them samples, the two worked late into the night and called to tell executives they were ready. They didn’t know the syndicate would be coming to their hotel room, which was a mess of papers, food, and beer bottles. Caught off-guard, the men looked like transients. “We think you guys are disgusting,” one executive said, “but we love the strip. We’ll take it.”

3. THE SHORT JOKES WERE BASED ON JOHNNY HART.

In a visual juxtaposition, the king of Id’s height is inversely proportional to his power. Parker said the character’s stature was based partly on Hart, who used to fend off jokes about his own height. "The king became short because we used to kid John about being short and a lot of the short gags began to slide over into the strip," Parker said. "He just kept getting smaller, and as he shrunk, the nose got bigger and bigger."

4. A LITTLE GIRL GOT THEM TO DROP A CHARACTER.

Most of the humor in Id is centered around the morbid dynamics of Middle Ages politics, which is not normally an opportunity to offend current sensibilities. But early on, Parker and Hart created a karate teacher from Japan who was perceived by some as a stereotype. When Parker received a letter from a young Japanese-American girl who was being teased at school as a result of the character, the creators decided to drop him from the strip.

5. JIM HENSON WAS GOING TO PUT IT ON TELEVISION.

An avowed fan of comic strips and of The Wizard of Id in particular, Muppets creator Jim Henson met with Hart in 1968 to discuss a possible collaboration. Henson wanted to create an Id television show that would use puppets against an animated backdrop. Hart agreed, and in 1969, Henson was able to shoot test footage featuring himself as the voice of the Wizard. But executives at Publishers-Hall, which had taken over syndication of the strip, were having trouble enticing networks into producing a series. By the time ABC showed interest, Henson had moved on to Sesame Street and other projects. Wizard of Id got translated into animation in 1970 as part of a Chuck Jones variety series titled Curiosity Shop.

6. HART TURNED DOWN FEATURE FILM OFFERS.

Possibly disappointed in the outcome of the Henson project, Hart wasn’t very receptive to offers to adapt Id into other mediums. He reportedly shunned Steven Spielberg and Norman Lear when they called about adaptations. Producer Andrew Gaty managed to interest Hart in 1987, though his plans for a live-action feature—possibly starring Danny DeVito as the king—never came to fruition.

7. IT WAS A (STRANGE) VIDEO GAME.

In 1984, users of the ColecoVision home computer system were able to pick up a software program with an unwieldy title: The Wizard of Id’s Wiz Math. The edutainment program allowed players to brush up on math skills by solving problems faced by Spookingdorf, the tortured and jailed cast member of the strip. By solving math problems, players could navigate Spookingdorf out of his dungeon. The game was produced by Sierra, which later became known for its King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry franchises. A typing game, WizType, was also released.

8. BLONDIE AND BEETLE BAILEY CELEBRATED THE STRIP'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY.

When The Wizard of Id passed the half-century milestone in 2014, the entire comics page came out to celebrate. Hi and Lois featured a portrait of the Wizard in a panel, while Blondie and Family Circus made subtle references to the anniversary. (As modern-day strips, it would be difficult to regard a medieval strip with more overt acknowledgment.) In Beetle Bailey, the perennial screw-up shared a cell with the eternally suffering Spookingdorf.

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