Art for Dummies

Originally posted on

The following is a funny guide that’ll help you link famous painters and their style and paintings together in the future. Even though it was conceived as a joke you will realize how this list captures the essence of each artist, resulting in the end actually useful.

If everyone looks like doey-eyed girls, then it’s Caravaggio.
If everyone has giant asses, then it’s Reubens.
If it’s something you saw on your acid trip last night, it’s Dali.
If everybody has some sort of body malfunction, then it’s Picasso.
If the paintings have tons of little people in them but otherwise seem normal, it’s Bruegel.
If the paintings have lots of little people in them but also have a ton of crazy bullshit, it’s Bosch.
If the images have a dark background and everyone has tortured expressions on their faces, it’s Titian.
van Eyck
If everyone – including the women – looks like Putin, then it’s van Eyck.
If everyone looks like hobos illuminated only by a dim streetlamp, it’s Rembrandt.
If everyone is beautiful, naked, and stacked, it’s Michelangelo.
If the painting could easily have a few chubby Cupids or sheep added (or already has them), it’s Boucher.
If you see a ballerina, it’s Degas.
El Greco
If everything is highly contrasted and sharp, sort of bluish, and everyone has gaunt bearded faces, it’s El Greco.
Dappled light but no figures, it’s Monet.
If every painting is the face of a uni-browed woman, it’s Frida.
Dappled light and happy party-time people, it’s Renoir.
Dappled light and unhappy party-time people, then it’s Manet.
It it looks like an Excel sheet with colored squares, it’s Mondrian.

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit

The exclusive exhibit of Diego and Frida was at the Detroit Institute of Arts from March 15 to July 12. I had seen the advertising for the event in the winter months and it was definitely a To Do art event.


My mom is a huge Frida fan and introduced me to her long ago. I had watched the movie, “Frida” with Salma Hayek in 2002 and loved it. Strange enough, as I was channel surfing a few weeks ago I caught the beginning of the movie and proceeded to watch it again in its entirety. Being back into the art world again, I had a new found appreciation for her unique style and subject matter. If you have not seen the movie, I highly recommend it! You can not truly appreciate her work, unless you know her life story.

DIA Diego & Frida Brochure

Mom and I were determined to see the exhibit, but between busy schedules we had a difficult time putting it on the books. Now that the event was ending, we had no choice but to go on the last day. Note to self: never see an exclusive exhibit on the last day! When we arrived at the DIA, the next available time was 6:30. We walked around the Institute, grabbed a bite to eat and waited for our turn to get in line.

Breadline (Courtesy of Internet)
Breadline (Courtesy of Internet)

The line twisted and turned throughout the museum like a snake. For some reason, standing in long lines feels worse for my body than

walking a mile and I was hurting! Thankfully at some points I found a chair while my mom stayed in the line to keep our place. (Thanks Mommy!) We must have waited for 1 1/2  hours but it seemed more like three and felt more like a 1930’s bread line.

Once we were finally inside we were treated to nearly 70 works of art by both Frida and Diego, including massive drawings from Diego’s plans for the DIA murals, paintings from both artists, and a short movie highlighting their story. According to the website there were 23 paintings from Frida, none of which had been exhibited at the DIA before. Since we were not allowed to take photographs inside the exhibit, I’ve included some of the paintings that we saw.

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were an explosive couple. He carried a pistol. She carried a flask. He romanticized Detroit. She rejected it. But what they shared was a belief in communism, a thirst for tequila and a passion for each other. (DIA Website)

What a couple. What a story. What an exhibit. Thank you Frida and Diego for sharing yourselves and your art with the world!