Renaissance art as .gifs | Medavia

Renaissance art as .gifs

Renaissance gif Jesus on diving board

Renaissance art as you have never seen it! A talented animator has created hilarious moving images which present classical paintings as they have never been imagined before.

Montreal-based artist James Kerr, 35, has taken works by great masters such as Lucas Cranach the Elder and Quentin Metsys and used their subjects to create scenes featuring priests using Facebook, crowd-surfing disciples and Jesus on a diving board.

The images recall the surreal, anarchic collages which Terry Gilliam became famous for in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Kerr said: “I have a really broad influences but I think the Monty Python comparison is fairly obvious when you look at them.”

In the images, which are formatted as .gifs for viewing on the internet, Mr Kerr takes characters from renaissance paintings and uses photoshop to cut them out of their original settings and place them into hilarious situations.

In one .gif the animator has Jesus flying out of the cave he was placed in following his crucifixion, wearing a jetpack.

In another, a character from Ferdinand I by Hans Maler pulls back a bow to fire at a deer, but Captain Picard from Star Trek appears in front of him.

One of the most surreal animations has two monks, from a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, having a conversation before one turns into a sheep and the other transforms into a car and drives away.

Mr Kerr said he gained an appreciation for fine art through being influenced by the art books his mother kept in his childhood home.

He decided to subvert the northern renaissance style because he found the original paintings so beautiful.

Mr Kerr can take elements from as many as 20 different paintings to create his finished pieces, which range from the lightly comical to the extremely bizarre.

He said his irreverent tone has drawn criticism from some internet users who have accused him of blasphemy.

He said: “They contain a lot of my sense of humour. I don’t get much negative attention from people. The worst I got was one comment from a girl who did not like my inflatable wacky arms Jesus.

“People tend to love them. The comment I get most of all is – ‘I may be going to hell, but I’m going to reblog this’.”

A full set of .gifs is available on request. To discuss rates for using pictures and copy, contact news editor Tom Knight on 07815 004413 or


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