Fred Armisen, Art Aficionado: Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze

Fred Armisen, Art Aficionado: Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze


-Fred, I know you get
a little humble, a little shy when I praise you,
but I have to praise you. You —
And I said this backstage — You are a renaissance man. You know so much
about so many things. And, then, backstage
you were telling me that you are an art connoisseur. At a level
that I did not appreciate. -Oh, yeah. I love art. -And I knew you loved art,
but you told me that you have an art historian’s knowledge about every painting
ever painted and I could show you anything,
and you would be able to give me the whole history
of that piece. -Yeah, every painting
since the very first painting. -Wow. [ Laughter ] Let’s test it out once again in our segment
“Fred Armisen: Art Aficionado.” [ Cheers and applause ] Here we go. This is Emanuel Leutze’s
1851 painting “George Washington
Crossing the Delaware.” -Oh, yeah.
-Fred, tell us — -Yeah. Oh, yeah.
-Oh, you knew it right away. -Oh, yeah.
Well, you can see the light. You know, that’s the first thing
you see, is the light and the sort of sun
coming from it. It’s — It’s really something.
This was a commission. Uh, this was a commission
by, uh, the church. And it was — -When you say the church,
do you mean the Catholic Church? -It was, uh, all
the churches combined. They were like,
“We need to commission — You know, we haven’t done
any commissioning, so, like, we just want
to commission something.” So they went to this painter,
and they were like, “Can you do something
but just make it look, like, really crowded
and just make it look, like — Something stressful.
We want a stressful — We want a stressful painting.” -That’s so weird that all the
churches would want a painting of stress ’cause I feel like
a lot of times when you’re in a church
the art is, you know, sort of peaceful I think. -Yeah, but this would draw them
into the church. They wanted art to be something
that people are like, “This is too stressful
to look at. Let’s just to go church.” -So it was like a trick?
-Yeah, kind of a trick. This is the first,
like, trick art. And it’s the first painting that where a painter was
actually giggling throughout. He was sort of like —
[ Giggling softly ] ‘Cause he knew
what the trick was. So he was sort of, like,
laughing. It’s just — And you can see
some of the giggle lines. We call it in art — In art,
we call these giggle lines. -Is that a giggle line
right there? -That’s a giggle line here.
-Yeah, right there? -Giggle lines down there.
-Down there, yeah. -The ice is giggle lines.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah. -It’s just sort of shaking
and laughing. -And, then, so,
where would they hang this art that people would see it and
then go to church right after? -In the town square.
-Okay. Gotcha. -Yeah. In the very center
of town. -Okay, so you’d go to the
town square, you’d look at it, and then would representatives
from the church be there to then sort of redirect you? -Well, they would do a lot of
acting. Like, they would sort of stand in front of the painting
so that other people knew what to do,
and they’d be like, “Wh– Ah! This is so stressful.” You know?
Like, they — “Oh, no! Oh!” You know, in civilian clothes.
So it’s just — -Oh, they wouldn’t wear
their church clothes? -No, no, no. They’d go,
“Let’s go into the church.” And it just went from there.
-And was it a success? -Oh, absolutely. Yes.
-Yeah. And then — Have there been a lot of famous
trick paintings since? -Uh, there have been
another two. [ Laughter ] -Just two?
-Just two, which is odd. Because it was such a success.
But it’s somewhere — In the next couple years,
there was just a couple more, and that was it, and they
sort of moved on from there. -Wow. I did not know anything
about trick paintings. This was a real education. And, Fred, you have
done it again. Give it up for Fred Armisen,
everybody. -Thank you.

19 thoughts on “Fred Armisen, Art Aficionado: Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze

  1. There is an artist in England called Jim’ll Paint It, his satire of trump is hilarious, easy to Google him, highly recommend.

  2. Fred's ability to say all of that with a straight face in front of an audience and break into fake laughter before returning to the dead stone clueless expression he exudes is truly wonderous.

  3. The way he nods and humbly accepts the praise like "I don't like being praised but for the sake of being truthful… yes, I am all that " has to be the funniest thing about this

  4. Love the Art Aficionado segment. Everytime I see him playing the drums on this show I immediately know I am in for a good time and some hilarious great bits of wisdom.

    I was wondering if he could impart to us his wisdom of sculptures. It would be awesome to see him explain to us the meanings behind the Salmon Sculpture in Portland, Rodin's The Thinker, Micaelangelo's David, Myron's Discobolus, etc.

    P.S.
    Could you also have him Judge A Movie by Its Poster. That way movies can get the same famous Armisen treatment as books do. I would love to see his wisdom in regards to movies like The Room, Us, Pretty Woman, Citizen Kane, etc.

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