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Inspiration

Iconic Paintings Photobombed by Santa Claus with the Help of Ed Wheeler

By Hanssie on December 19th 2013

I would’ve paid much more attention in Art History class if Santa Claus was frolicking in the images that we studied. Feel free to call me low-browed, but I always wondered why Monet’s “Japanese Footbridge” was so revered in the art world. I mean, sure, it’s a nice painting and all and something that my background in finger painting couldn’t hold a candle to, but now it’s BETTER because Jolly Old St. Nick is decorating it with some much needed holiday lighting. And who WOULDN’T want Santa to be a part of their “Dance Class?” Degas clearly left out an important character in his masterpiece.

Santa and Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool,Giverny

Santa and Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool,Giverny

Santa and Degas’ The Ballet Class

Santa and Degas’ The Ballet Class

[REWIND: Fujifilm and Van Gogh Museum 3D Print Art Replicas ]

“Santa Classics”

Alright, so clearly, I am not an art connoisseur by any means, but this hilarious series, “Santa Classics,” by photographer, Ed Wheeler, “pays homage to the original paintings while offering art lovers an additional reason to smile.” A corporate location photographer for the last 35 years, Wheeler has always worked on personal projects, including “Santa Classics,” which is twenty years in the making. What began as an annual Christmas mailer to his clients, where Wheeler would dress up like Kris Kingle and take portraits of himself doing “non-Santa like” things (such as drinking in a bar or getting a tattoo), has evolved into a “Santa Intervention,” of classic art pieces.

Sandro Botticelli – The Birth of Venus - 1486, Uffizi, Florence

Santa and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus

The Process

Wheeler begins the process by choosing an illustrious work of art after researching hundreds of paintings to see which ones need a “Santa Intervention.”Wheeler says,

The painting comes first. I’ll often find myself in a gallery or museum looking at a masterpiece and thinking,’Santa would look great here.’

After the painting is chosen, Wheeler uses a multi-step process to “fully integrate Santa into the lighting, brushstrokes and tonal values of a particular painting. The lighting in the studio must match that of the original artwork: this is critical to maintaining the fidelity of the original.” Part of that process, (which sounds like the most fun part) is for Wheeler to dress up as St. Nick and take a self portrait. He then manipulates the image into the painting and the results are, well, masterpieces.

Santa Transition

The Exhibit

“Santa Classics” is exhibiting at bahdeebahdu in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art just published a series of 11 Santa Classics images on holiday cards – the first museum in the world to ever do so.

Santa and Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus

Santa and Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus

Santa and Cooolidge’s A Friend in Need

Santa and Cooolidge’s A Friend in Need

Santa and Copley’s Watson and the Shark

Santa and Copley’s Watson and the Shark

Santa and Hiroshige’s Heavy Snow and Visitors to the Shiba Jingu Palace

Santa and Hiroshige’s Heavy Snow and Visitors to
the Shiba Jingu Palace

Santa and Toulouse-Lautrec’s At the Moulin Rouge

Santa and Toulouse-Lautrec’s At the Moulin Rouge

Santa and Rousseau’s The Dream

Santa and Rousseau’s The Dream

Santa and Vermeer’s The Art of Painting

Santa and Vermeer’s The Art of Painting

There are many more iconic paintings that Wheeler and Santa have “intervened” on. You can see more of those on his WEBSITE.

CREDITS: All photographs by Ed Wheeler are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

[Via @Design Taxi]
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About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. fotosiamo

    These are amazing! Hilarious, too!

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