Artistic Classics to be updated with tattoos


Many of the most famous works of art in history are to be permanently altered in order to attract the interest of teenagers. The move will see the adding of tattoos and piercings to priceless works of art in National Gallery, Tate Britain and other major European galleries.

‘We have to reflect society’s current thinking on what actually constitutes beauty’ said Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell. ‘Painting tattoos onto famous paintings is simply adding embellishments that the artist would have included if they were alive today.’

Work has already started with the Rokeby Venus, by Velasquez, who now has a Harley Davidson style wing tattoo skillfully applied to her lower back. The Venus de Milo will soon have a prominent piercing through her navel. Manet’s classic ‘Dejeuner sur l’herbe’ will see the central naked lady figure’s arm wrapped in Maori symbolism, in deference to the influential artist Robbie Williams. In Seurat’s ‘Bathers at Asnieres’, the boy with the hat has had his forearm adorned in pointillistic style with his mother’s name in Hindi.

‘Just like real tattoos the alterations will be permanent. “They’ll be stuck with it for life,” said a tutting middle-aged curator. Many other works are expected to be affected including the Pre-Raphaelites and several portraits of the Queen, who will benefit from an eyebrow stud and teardrop tattoo under her eye.

This will re-engage thousands of teenagers who are currently unable to relate to the outmoded imagery and religious iconography in our galleries,’ added the Culture Secretary. ‘Now the Virgin Mary weeps because she has just run out of credit on her mobile phone.’

If the initiative proves a success, further expressions of modern beauty are likely to be added. It is understood that several Vermeer paintings will have holes punched in them so that chunky Argos jewellery and topical charity wristbands can be added, and the Mona Lisa may be livened up a bit with ring through her nose and fingerless gloves. And the mystery of her enigmatic expression is solved at last. She’s smiling because she’s listening to a good track on her iPod.

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Posted: Dec 6th, 2006 by

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