Die Erwartete or The Expected One is one of Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller's many acclaimed works, but there's something quite unique about it, or more accurately, something unsettling about it. Do you see what it is? Give up yet?
Does it not appear as though the woman he depicted in the picture is casually strolling along the peaceful and serene countryside with what seems to be an iPhone, that too nearly 150 years before its actual release? The innocuous detail in the painting - which also shows a potential lover waiting for the lovely lady with a flower at the end of the road - was first noticed by retired Glasgow local government officer Peter Russell when it was hanging at the Neue Pinakothek museum in Munich.
Mr. Russell had shared the image on Twitter in response to another story about mobile phones cropping up in numerous historical scenes. While it might seem like she's casually browsing some app on her iPhone, she's, in fact, reading a hymn book, which many carried with them during the time.
Gerald Weinpolter, an art expert, said: "The girl in this Waldmüller painting is not playing with her new iPhone X, but is off to church holding a little prayer book in her hands.”
The Motherboard story he was responding to concerned a painting titled Mr. Pynchon and the Settling of Springfield. It also depicts a man who seems to be browsing his iPhone. The painting, which was completed by Italian semi-abstract painter Umberto Romano, predates the popular mobile device by seven decades.
While its a hymn book in the Expected One, experts think the man in Romano's painting is holding a mirror, which many natives incorporated into tribal aesthetic and cultural contexts.
Explaining the phenomenon to Motherboard, Mr. Russell said: "What strikes me most is how much a change in technology has changed the interpretation of the painting, and in a way has leveraged its entire context. The big change is that in 1850 or 1860, every single viewer would have identified the item that the girl is absorbed in as a hymnal or prayer book."
"Today, no one could fail to see the resemblance to the scene of a teenage girl absorbed in social media on their smartphone," he added.
There are plenty of other paintings which appear to depict time travel as well, though most have since been thoroughly debunked.
Take The Glorification of the Eucharist painted by Ventura Salimbeni in 1595 which hangs in Florence, Italy. The painting shows the holy trinity - Jesus, God, and a dove, which is meant to represent the Holy Ghost. Conspiracy theorists believe that the weird object between Jesus and God is Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth and which only launched in 1957.
Another example would be this painting that hangs on the walls of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Georgia. While this may be one of the millions of paintings depicting the crucifixion of Christ, what's odd about this one is that it appears to have a UFO in the background. The Express reported that art historians who have studied the 11th-century piece say the weird dome-shaped 'crafts' represent guardian angels.
If you're still not convinced, does it not appear as if this ancient Greek statue from around 100 BC, titled Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant shows a woman using a laptop? The statue can be found at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, and Jeffrey Spier, the senior curator of antiquities at the museum believes it's more likely to be a jewelry box or a mirror.
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