"Deadly Serious" Artist Kiszkiloszki Animates Classic Paintings

Photo of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor1 December 2016

Self-taught artist Kiszkiloszki is in the business of animating famous paintings. Why? “Who knows?” he tells Culture Trip. He simply enjoys telling stories through the medium of animation. But in the process of pursuing a hobby, he’s accrued quite a following for his humorously grim animations that breathe new life (or rather, death) into some of art history’s best-known subjects.

All images courtesy of the artist.

Born Kajetan Obarski in Poland, Amsterdam-based musician, photographer, and animator Kiszkiloszki creates alternative, often ill-fated endings for recognizable icons from famous paintings.

While he chalks these animations up to creative expression, Kiszkiloszki’s work has depth beyond its dark humor for dark humor’s sake. “I’m not a big fan of the canons of beauty… Maybe because I can’t stand the pathos or the gravity of what they represent.” So what could be more satisfying than poking fun at their very nature?

Inspired by Lucian Freud’s “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” (1995)

Kiszkiloszki is certainly not the first to satirize the art world’s notorious self-seriousness, but he does so with imagination and ease as amusing scenarios reveal themselves to him in each painting.

While Lucian Freud’s not-so-classically beautiful subject (above) fetched a record-breaking $56.2 million at auction in 2015, Mr. Obarski casually rewrites her high-priced narrative – and it will appear more congruous to many onlookers than her astounding monetary value. All the while an earless Van Gogh is gifted a set of headphones he can’t use, and a very guilty Saturn is confronted by the police.

For more nihilistic humor and internet subculture, visit Kiszkiloszki’s Tumblr, and check out more of our favorites below.

Inspired by Francisco Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son” (1819–1823)
Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine” (1489–1490)
Inspired by Jean Bernard Restout’s “Sleep” (c. 1771)
Inspired by René Magritte’s “The Lovers II” (1928)
Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear” (1889)
Inspired by Edward Hopper’s “Morning Sun” (1952)
Inspired by Salvador Dalí’s “The Persistence of Memory” (1931), Frida Kahlo’s “Henry Ford Hospital” (1932), and René Magritte’s “Meditation” (1937)
Inspired by Henri Fantin-Latour’s “A Studio at Les Batignolles” (1870)