The Internet has been blown up by a 162-year-old painting of a woman holding a smartphone.
Take a look at Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller’s The Expected One and you will immediately see the woman in the center of the painting walking through a picturesque landscape towards a man waiting in the bushes holding a rose flower.
Through a 21st century lens, the woman appears to be scrolling through her iPhone while walking. But that obviously wouldn’t make any sense since the iPhone was released in 2007 and the painting was finished in 1860.
But, according to art historians, this illusion has a simple explanation.
It is said that while walking, a woman reads a prayer book, and does not browse social networks.
“The girl in this Waldmüller painting is not playing with her new iPhone X but walking to church holding a small prayer book,” Gerald Weinpolter, CEO of art agency austrian-paintings.at, told Motherboard.
Peter Russell, a retired Glasgow local government official, was the first to shed light on the painting. He told Motherboard that he and his partner saw the painting this summer while visiting the Neue Pinakothek in Munich and wanted to learn more about it.
He noted that the discussion around the article shows how much society has changed.
“What strikes me the most is how much the change in technology has changed the interpretation of the painting and in some way affected its entire context,” Russell said.
“The big change is that in 1850 or 1860 every spectator would define the subject that a girl is passionate about as a hymnal or a prayer book. Today, no one could fail to notice the resemblance to a scene in which a teenage girl is engrossed in social media on her smartphone.”