7 Art Historical Tumblr Blogs Reviewed

From ugly Renaissance babies to Beyonce.

The Internet is a vast expanse filled largely with things like cat memes, hamster butts, and images of Kim Kardashian. But it is also a treasure trove of famous, obscure, and gently modified images from art history, most of which get shared, liked, and re-blogged through the preferred image-centric social media platform, Tumblr. In order to help sort through the deluge, here are critical takes on seven stand-out Tumblr blogs with an art historical bent.

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Selections from “Carter Family Portraits.”
Courtesy Carter Family Portraits.

Carter Family Portraits
Beyonce, Jay Z, Blue Ivy, Solange, and occasional appearances by Carter family hangers-on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West make this Tumblr art history appropriation gold. It’s no shock that Beyonce’s glamor translates perfectly to paint (Beyonce on the half shell, Beyonce with a pearl earring, etc.), but Jay Z in American Gothic? Priceless. Plus, they just look so real. Kudos to the Photoshop master behind this one.

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Stormtrooper looking at Rothkos.
Courtesy In a Gallery Far, Far Away…

In a Gallery Far, Far Away…
The premise is simple: real people looking at precious works of art while sporting the helmets worn by the Stormtroopers from Star Wars. Are you an art history geek? Are you a Star Wars geek? Are you just an overall, general geek? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the art history Tumblr for you.

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Art history by Nike.
Courtesy Swoosh Art.

Swoosh Art
Though Swoosh Art recently took up the habit of putting Prada’s name on random, instantly recognizable logos, it had a pretty solid thing going on with inserting the Nike swoosh (and occasionally the athletic clothes company’s slogan “Just Do It”) into famous works of art. Yes, it’s a bit repetitive and obvious after a while, but it’s funny when well executed and seamlessly integrated.

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An unsightly infant in a Renaissance painting.
Courtesy Ugly Renaissance Babies.

Ugly Renaissance Babies
It’s unclear whether or not babies were actually less attractive during the Renaissance, but we won’t mince words: These are some ugly babies. From an art historical standpoint, it’s rather fascinating, but from a purely aesthetic perspective this Tumblr leaves something to be desired. Namely, pictures that are nice to look at.

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Close-up on the nipple of a sculpture at the Met.
Courtesy Nipples at the Met.

Nipples at the Met
Though Nipples at the Met has graduated to a .com, its Tumblr roots are not forgotten. Don’t be mistaken—Nipples at the Met is exactly what it sounds like. Think of it as an in-depth anatomical study of artists’ attempts at rendering an oft-overlooked appendage. Or, you know, a collection of what everyone was giggling about on the field trip you took there in fifth grade.

And, in case you were wondering, yes, the same thing does exist for butts.

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A John Currin painting in an ugly room.
Courtesy Great Art in Ugly Rooms.

Great Art In Ugly Rooms
As we noted with Ugly Renaissance Babies, the best Tumblr blogs leave us with lingering questions. How did this great art get in this ugly room? How is it that someone who can afford to buy a Jasper Johns dwells in what appears to be a poorly finished basement? Who in their right mind paints an entire room peach? These are all questions that will be raised here, but never answered.

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Plants in Contemporary Art
The creators of Plants in Contemporary Art clearly yearn for a simpler time when there were, well, more plants in contemporary art. This Tumblr is largely comprised of green, leafy structures surrounded by the familiar whiteness of gallery walls, but there is something oddly comforting about them. Consider it a plea to contemporary artists to bring back the plants!


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