There are many things in this world that go together perfectly. Tom and Jerry. Bacon and eggs. Ross and Rachel, and so much more. But one thing we never thought we’d see together was sports and classical art. After all, art depicts heartbreak, competitiveness, talent, injury, desire, and intuition. And sports are all about… well, actually, they’re totally the same when you think about it like that.
We guess we’re not the only ones who think so, either. The Instagram account @artbutmakeitsports is an account that you desperately need in your life – whether you care about art or not. The digital creator behind this account has hilariously mashed up some of sports’ most iconic moments with art pieces that match up eerily well with each other. We never thought we’d see the day, but the internet is always so full of surprises.
The Famous Point
Any fan of the Dallas Mavericks will automatically recognize the man on the left. Who could forget the one and only Dirk Nowitzki, anyway? The German baller sadly hung up his number 41 jersey a few years ago, but everyone remembers this guy for being one of the best in the business – and for his point. But he’s not the only famous figure to point to the sky just because he can.
We think maybe we should rename Dirk and call him Plato instead because he could fit snugly into ‘The School of Athens’, a fresco painted by the legendary painter Raphael back in 1509-1511. Of course, we don’t think Raphael was familiar with three-pointers, slam dunks, or jump shots back in his day, but we’d love to see a modern version. Just imagine Dirk, LeBron, Shaquille, Scottie, and all of the best in The Vatican. It would be extraordinary.
Poking the Bear
No matter whether you’re playing a game of putt-putt or skydiving, being active and moving your body around always comes with the risk of injury. But there’s something about ice hockey that’s even more dangerous than the rest. Not only are the players quite literally skating on thin ice, but they’re also swinging around hockey sticks and pelting pucks at full speed. It can get pretty dangerous.
Sometimes ice hockey players will find themselves on the floor – even when they’re covered head-to-toe in protective gear. It’s down to their teammates to make sure they’re ok, and a little poke can go a long way! We guess the people in Lucien-Étienne Mélingue’s 1879 painting ‘Le Prévôt des marchands Étienne Marcel et le dauphin Charles’ also knew that.
The Face of War
Aaron Rodgers may be 38 years old – which is practically ancient in the NFL world – but that doesn’t mean that he’s too old to continue making his mark on the field. Often considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, the Green Bay Packers player has a huge fan base across the world. But even they won’t be able to deny the striking similarities between these two.
Known for his bizarre facial expressions, we hope Aaron will excuse us for making this ghastly comparison – but you just can’t ignore it. With his helmet coming off his head, his face in the midst of a game, and football on his mind, he looked just like the main image in Salvador Dali’s iconic painting, ‘The Face of War.’ Even he would have to agree with this one.
An Eye for an Eye
Let’s be honest, sports can be pretty dangerous. While anyone who decides to become a pro athlete knows that there’s a high chance that they’ll be injured at some point in their career, we bet basketball player Nikola Jokic didn’t expect to almost have his eyes gouged out by Draymond Green. It looks like he also tried to rip apart his nostrils. It doesn’t look fun, but it’s not something we haven’t seen before.
Yep, if you’re familiar with the artist Walter Rane, you might be familiar with basically the same exact scene playing out in his 1999 painting ‘He Anointed the Eyes of the Blindman.’ While we don’t think that the main subject in his painting was a basketball player, it does look like the guy getting his eyes played with is wearing some kind of jersey. It was like sports foreshadowing.
The Leap of Faith
We don’t care what anyone says, American football is an art form. This sport requires players to dip, dodge, duck, dive, and contort their bodies into all kinds of shapes – and that’s before we mention the agility they need to beat their opponents. Buffalo Bills fans will probably agree that Josh Allen is one of the most flexible of the lot – as seen by this epic leap of faith.
When the creator of @artbutmakeitsports saw Allen jumping over his opponent like a gazelle, they were obviously inspired by the painting on the left. What is that painting, we hear you ask? This is ‘The Fall of the Rebel Angels’, painted by Luca Giordana in 1666. And, really, these two images are basically the same. Allen has simply swapped a sword for a football and is wearing a few more items of clothing.
In the Face of Danger
If you’re not a professional volleyball player but have tried to play the sport, you’ll know that it’s not as easy as it looks. If you don’t get your hands in the exact position when you need them, there’s a high chance that a ball will splat you in the face. We hope that this Auburn Tigers player managed to hit the ball before it gave her a sucker punch, but we can’t be sure. Just like we can’t be sure what’s going on in the painting on the left.
What we do know is that the Auburn Tigers player is giving us major ‘Man in a Bowler Hat’ vibes. This painting was completed by the one and only René Magritte in 1964. This painting is supposed to represent how ordinary things often possess secret powers that challenge us to re-think the surrounding world as we know it. In terms of the volleyball player, though, we think it’s just a volleyball…
Having a Little Lie Down
As the son of former basketball player Melvin Booker, it was only a matter of time before Devin made his own way into the big leagues. Today, he’s a major player for the Phoenix Suns – and as one of the best on the team, he deserves a little lie down every now and then, right? Or was he pushed? Either way, the @artbutmakeitsports Instagram page just had to put these two images together.
From the slightly bemused face to the exact body position, Devin basically is Ophelia in the painting of the same name by John Everett Millais. Painted in 1852, this was obviously completed way before Devin Booker was even a speck in the universe, but it’s still hard to deny the similarities. Let’s just hope that Devin doesn’t suffer the same tragic fate as this maiden.
A Ray of Sunshine
While we’d love to take this time to celebrate the talent of the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Luis Patiño, we can’t really concentrate when this picture of him is so perfect. He truly is a ray of sunshine in this photo, and this photographer really knew what they were doing when they captured the pitcher in this position during a game. He’s basically the embodiment of one of the most famous paintings of all time.
Giotto di Bondone painted this painting, often called the ‘Legend of St. Francis’ or the ‘Ecstasy of St. Francis’ back in 1295. And this image, with the sun behind his head, is one that most of us are familiar with. It just so happens that now, St. Francis has passed his look onto Luis Patiño – and he even passed on the arm movements, too.
Putting Your Neck on the Line
Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills is known for putting up a good fight on the field, but we can’t deny the fact that many people also know him for his rather large neck. Not only is it long, but his neck is also pretty big in terms of its girth – and Twitter has been awash with memes of it. But we have to say that one of our favorites so far is this one below.
Everything from his hairline to the neckline of his jersey looks identical to the painting on the right. Even Mills’ facial expression looks as though it’s simply been taken from the canvas of Amedeo Modigliani’s 1912 painting ‘Young Man with a Black Waistcoat.’ It looks as though it’s been stuck on Mills’ face, and it’s pretty amazing.
The Greatest of All Time
If you’re a golf fan, you’ll know that there are countless talented golf players who take to the fairway every single year to show off what they’re made of. But we’d be lying if we said that there wasn’t one player who stood out more than the rest. Tiger Woods is often considered to be the greatest golf player of all time – the G.O.A.T, if you will. And this picture seems to prove it.
Charlie Woods, Tiger’s son, seems to be following in his dad’s footsteps and is looking to be the next big name in golf – which is why this painting on the right is so spot on. Painted by Rosa Bonheur in 1870, it’s called ‘Two Goats’ and seems to sum up this whole situation. There’s nothing else to say, really. This comparison really is a hole-in-one.
Show off What Your Momma Gave You
If you’re an avid basketball fan, you’ll no that no game is without drama. Whether it’s player interactions, the final score, or the conduct of fans, every single basketball game causes a stir. This was certainly the case in July 2021, when Patrick Beverly shoved Chris Paul to the floor during a Phoenix Suns vs LA Clippers game. Before he fell, though, Paul looked rather artistic on the court.
With his arched back, his unusual foot placement, and his calm-before-the-storm facial expression, he looked just like a statue. And a famous one at that. The Instagram page @artbutmakeitsports compared Paul to the rather complicatedly named statue, ‘Dancer at Rest, Hands Behind Her Back, Right Leg Forward’ by Edgar Degas. We don’t think Paul was at rest after he got shoved, though.
Fork It Until You Make It
Adam Silver is one of those strange figures within the NBA. He’s not a player, he’s not a coach, and he’s not associated with any particular team. Instead, he’s a lawyer, sports executive, and the current commissioner for the NBA. This means that he calls the shots – which is pretty good going, because he’s pretty scary looking. Nobody wants to mess with him.
Adam Silver doesn’t make too many appearances on television, but when he does he always inspires the same response from people familiar with the Grant Wood painting ‘American Gothic.’ This painting is famous for featuring a farmer with his pitchfork, and – of course – a bald head and round glasses. We’re not saying Adam is a time-traveler, but it certainly seems plausible.
Just Having a Little Nap
MMA and UFC fighter Conor McGregor is a legend in his sport. At the time of writing, the Irish fighter is ranked #12 in the UFC lightweight rankings – but he has some major wins under his belt. He’s not undefeated, though. Conor has lost a few matches and even been knocked out on a couple of occasions, and Dustin Poirier has the pleasure of saying he managed to knock out the ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor.
During this knockout, Conor was forced onto the floor – and while his glove certainly offered a barrier between his head and the hard material, this little snapshot also looked like he was having a little snooze. Instead, the art aficionados of the world couldn’t help but notice the similarities between this image and Jusepe de Ribera’s 1639 painting, ‘Jacob’s Dream.’ Everyone needs a little nap once in a while.
Feeling a Little Peckish
What would football be without its amazing mascots? Most teams have a mascot that comes onto the field during half-time to boost morale and get the crowd pumping, and Big Red has the pleasure of being the mascot for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. This college wouldn’t be complete without Big Red, and it seems as though this mascot really likes to get up close and personal with his fans.
Whenever Big Red hugs a fan or cheerleader, it looks as though he’s taking a big bite out of their heads – not unlike the painting on the left. This is a painting by Francisco Goya in 1823 called ‘Saturn Devouring His Son,’ and we have to say that the similarities are uncanny. Even the eyes look wide and full of crazy fury.
Bowing Down to the King
The number 8 Lakers jersey will forever be remembered for once sitting on the back of the late and great Kobe Bryant. Although this man was a vision on the basketball court during the course of his life, his legacy has become even greater since he’s passed away – and fans now lovingly watch back his best games to see his magic on the court. @artbutmakeitsports couldn’t help but notice that this particular image looked a little familiar.
While Kobe’s damage on the court wasn’t quite as bloodthirsty or as gruesome as ‘Summary Execution under the Moorish Kings of Granada’ by Henri Regnault in 1870, you can’t deny that it looks pretty similar. From the pose to the general air of authority and greatness, all Kobe needed at this moment was a sword. But we guess a basketball was his chosen sword.
Raising a Toast to Victory
While it’s always exciting to watch sports on television, there’s something about watching sports live in a stadium that’s unmatched. The atmosphere is electric, you get up and close to the action, and sometimes the weirdest things happen. Like when these baseball fans discovered a raccoon hidden amongst the seats, so decided to lift it up and move it to safety.
This man certainly looks like he was showing off his discovery for all of the stadium to see, and that’s exactly the air of confidence and pride that Benvenuto Cellini’s statue ‘Perseus with the Head of Medusa’ gives off. Thankfully, the guy watching the baseball game didn’t cut the head off the raccoon. That would be a whole different story for the ASPCA to deal with.
The Ultimate Dunk
Memphis Grizzlies player Ja Morant is a popular player within the NBA. Named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2020, he’s since gone on to prove his worth on the court – and he’s also proven his worth as a dunker. In the photo on the left, he brought his arm back as far as he could before landing a slam dunk, and it’s fair to say that the crowd went wild. But did this moment remind you of anything?
If you’re a statue kinda guy, then you might have likened this impressive moment to an equally as impressive statue. ‘The Winged Victory of Samothrace’ can be traced back to around 200–190 BC, and the movement of the statue is synonymous with that epic moment on the court. The only real difference is that Somathrace obviously lost her head when she scored a slam dunk. Ja didn’t.
Crossing Eternity’s Gate
Anyone who has an ounce of interest in basketball will know that the Curry name is legendary. And while the whole family have made their mark as ballers, Steph Curry is perhaps the most famous of them all. Not only is he considered to be one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, but this photo was taken in 2021 when Curry set a brand new record for career three-pointers – surpassing the incredible Ray Allen.
This was a momentous day for Curry, and, naturally, he couldn’t hold back his emotions. He crossed into a new realm that day, and you could say that he crossed into eternity’s gate. You know, like the painting that he so perfectly – although accidentally – recreated that day. He looked just like Vincent van Gogh’s 1890 masterpiece, ‘At Eternity’s Gate.’
Diving for the Touchdown
When you think about it, football players could become professional divers if they wanted to. They have no fear when it comes to diving from great heights, and they can hurl themselves pretty far when they spot the touchdown line coming up close to them. Robert Hunt from the Miami Dolphins is one of those football players we could see crossing over into diving, because just look at this.
Hunt looked just like this ‘Perseus and Andromeda’ painting by Titian when he dove with the ball in his hands. And while you can’t see his face because it’s covered by his helmet, we can only assume that he had the same scared/confused/regretful facial expression on his face as Perseus did in the painting. We bet that really hurt.
All White Everything
If you had the chance to either be a football player or a football coach, which one would you choose? If you didn’t want the pressure of being on the field, you might want to be a bit more like Lane Kiffin. This guy is currently the head football coach at the University of Mississippi, but he’s been a major name within the NFL for decades. Everyone loves him… but does he love his job?
From this picture, it’s hard to tell. Especially as he looks so hilarious with his white hood on top of his matching white cap. But it’s not just his bemused facial expression that’s making us laugh. It’s the fact that he also looks as though he’s recreating ‘The Artist’s Sister in the Garb of a Nun’ by Sofonisba Anguissola, which was painted back in 1551. Just beautiful.
Reach for the Stars
Soccer may not be as popular in the United States as it is across the rest of the world, but that’s not to say that the players aren’t super famous. Big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are all anyone can talk about – and Spanish soccer star David de Gea is also a big name around town. That might also be because he turned himself into a classical art painting.
The Instagram account @artbutmakeitsport couldn’t help but notice that de Gea was the spitting image of Saint Sebastian in this painting by José de Ribera from 1621. What’s so crazy is that ‘Saint Sebastian Tended by the Holy Women’ was not only painted by a Spanish artist but that Saint Sebastian himself is a popular male saint today among athletes. It was meant to be.