June 23, 2020
When you’re stuck inside, a fun thing to do is play dress-up. And when you’re stuck inside indefinitely, with time to really lean into to some personal art direction, the sartorial stakes become correspondingly higher. During our globe-spanning COVID-19 quarantine, many people have taken the artistic leap from aspirational to inhabited, as they pose as famous masterpieces from art history.
Sometimes this happens en plein air, as this group of reenactors in Seville poses in the round for Velazquez’ The Surrender at Breda (detail, because they couldn’t assemble quite all the characters this year). Note the period-inspired masks!
This group effort brings to mind a technicolor version of the tableaux vivants popular in previous centuries, where an entire community theater group would dress in togas and freeze as classical friezes for the duration.
And of course who could forget One Grecian Urn, as enacted by The Ladies’ Auxiliary for the Classic Dance (River City, Iowa)?
More often the quarantine reenactments are posed for the camera, and paired with a reproduction of the piece copied for social media. This greatly democratizes aesthetic access, as it can be done with any random stuff you find lying around the house, like an old blanket, some carrots, or the dog.
Meanwhile in Russia, members of the Facebook group Izoizolyacia are taking it to the next level, with incredibly detailed results, sometimes including body makeup for fabulous Fauvist highlights, or badgering everyone in the quarantine bubble to pitch in.
But the re-enactments are not confined to the bounds of realism, as demonstrated by this intriguing take on a Rothko…
… and this avocado.
But perhaps the most delightful examples are performed by four art-history-loving housemates who go by @covidclassics on Instagram, and are reenacting their way through the entire Western canon. Included is perhaps the most famous art restoration of the 21st century, particularly beloved by us here at HILOBROW, none other than Ecce Homo, or as he is more commonly known, Beast Jesus.